New York Republicans on Wednesday picked former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio as their candidate for governor and rejected a challenge from Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy.
"It is time we are unified," Lazio said as he accepted the party's nomination during the GOP's fractious convention in Manhattan. "We are going to Albany and when we get there, we are going to tear down the wall of incompetence and corruption. ... They have had their chance, and they have failed."
Then he took aim at Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, the popular and well-financed attorney general and son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
"Andrew Cuomo has been too political for too long," Lazio said. "Isn't it time we reject the status Cuomo?"
Lazio represented his Long Island district in Congress from 1993 to 2001 and lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. Senate election in 2000.
Levy is the Suffolk County executive and still enrolled as a Democrat. He needed more than 50 percent of the votes in a second ballot to win a spot in a Sept. 14 primary, but mustered just less than 43 percent.
Levy didn't immediately endorse Lazio after their bruising fight and said he was considering a run on a minor party line.
Levy was backed by state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who said Levy offered the party's best chance for winning in heavily Democratic New York.
Buffalo developer Carl Paladino has vowed to petition his way to a primary. Libertarian Warren Redlich and recently announced candidate Myers Mermel also sought the GOP nomination.
Many who opposed letting Levy on the ballot screamed that it was time to support "a real Republican," not someone who has supported Democrats like President Barack Obama.
Associated Press writer Beth Fouhy contributed to this report.
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