Electoral Fusion Ruins New York Some More

29 May

New York is one of only a small handful of states that permits electoral fusion – the system whereby minor parties can and do endorse candidates from major parties. Any party that garners 50,000 votes or more on its party line in any gubernatorial election is guaranteed a slot on the ballot until the next gubernatorial election. It is often argued that the existence of these party lines enable die-hard Democrats to vote for a Republican without pulling a lever on the Republican line, and vice-versa for Republicans to vote for Democrats. The Conservative Party = Republicans. The Working Families Party = Democrats. The Independence Party = hacks and opportunists.

The net result of this is that a lot of dealmaking gets done to ensure minor party ballot lines – and in any New York State-based political deal, jobs are on the line. For the most part, all this amounts to is a big patronage factory. (I know that there are exceptions, but they just prove the rule.)

So, in-between the Democratic state convention last week and the Republican state convention next week, the Conservative Party held a convention that culminated in Republican Rick Lazio getting the nomination for that party line. This over the strenuous objection of supporters of Angry® Tea Party candidate and horse porn aficionado Carl Paladino, and Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

In fact, two competing slates were up for votes at the Conservative convention yesterday – Rick Lazio and Erie County Conservative Party chairman Ralph Lorigo. Lorigo, however, isn’t running. He put his name in as a placeholder for either Carl Paladino, whom he backs, or Steve Levy – Lorigo struck a deal with Levy supporters to create this placeholder slate.

Because Lazio got just a bit over 50% at the Conservative convention and Lorigo got over 30%, Lorigo’s slate has about a week to decide whether it will mount a primary.

Paladino is threatening to dilute the Conservative Party’s clout in November by launching a Tea Party line, and Paladino is supporting Lorigo’s move and will continue to do so unless Lazio strikes a backroom deal with him to guarantee him 25% of the vote at the Republican convention to guarantee a slot on the Republican primary ballot.

Remember Ed Cox moaning about how inclusive and open the Republican convention would be, as opposed to the Democratic convention where the delegates “conspired” in a “backroom deal” to ensure that all five AG candidates would appear on the September primary ballot? Yeah, what a load of disingenuous bullshit that was.

The only things missing from this story are the words “Steve Pigeon” and “Chris Collins”, who have conspired locally to cripple the Democratic Party.

12 Responses to “Electoral Fusion Ruins New York Some More”

  1. Pete Singer May 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    “What a load of disingenuous bullshit that was.”

    Your saying that the Democratic governor’s race is an open process. Where the fuck you been? They shut out good candidates. It’s the Mafia. Even the delegates are told who to vote for..

    Yeah, the Republicans are no better.. This is the way it works : http://stopdamato.wordpress.com/ This is not my site by the way..

    This isn’t the way our forefathers intentions were. Show me in the constitution where it mention political parties. It’s the old boys club. They are both the party of money and special interest.

  2. Alan Bedenko May 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Are you saying there were other viable Democratic gubernatorial candidates out there who got shut out at the convention? Because there weren’t any.  4 years ago, Suozzi got the bum’s rush at the hands of the Spitzer coronation, but nothing of the sort happened this year.  The closest the Dem convention came to that was the Gail Greene issue. 

  3. Ward May 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    I get it.
    We should elect only the machine-Democrat-endorsed candidates, the Lenihan people. And only vote for them on the Democrat line. After all, they’ve gotten us this far. So far, so good.

    • Carl May 31, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

      You…probably missed that the Dems have been splintered into 3 factions, thanks to the County Leg….right?

      And nice use of the “Democrat” blast, Ward. We knew you had it in you.

  4. hank May 30, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    The nominating process for both majory parties in NYS is identical to the work of the Albany legislators—If there ever got anything right, it would be by fucking accident.

    God save NYS

  5. The Point Is May 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    That is why you look at the candidates that are NOT endorsed by the parties and try to find the ones that look like they are not being controlled. Big Plus, if they have any history of actually doing anything positive for the State of New York.

  6. Ben McD June 1, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    Personally, I would like it if each candidate were listed on just one line with the parties that endorse him/her listed on that line. You could then have as many candidates as you have lines, while allowing the freedom of parties to endorse whomever they want.

  7. samroberts June 1, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    I’m pretty sure the Democratic party has crippled itself.

  8. Fat Tony June 1, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Fusion voting empowers a few wackos to cut deals for patronage jobs in return for their line. Take away the Independence cross endorsement and nobody probably hears from Steve Pigeon again. But his control over that locally could impact the Stack seat which could impact control of the State Senate which could impact redistricting which impacts seats in the U.S. Congress and suddenly everyone is willing to sell their soul because it really matters.

    • buffaloobserver June 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

      Fat Tony– I couldn’t have said it better myself

  9. Bill Altreuter June 1, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    It’s interesting to think about what the loss of a ballot line by the Conservative Party might mean. It could happen. The Lazio endorsement might well spark a Tea Party move. The old Liberal party finally collapsed when it became exclusively a patronage shell, and that’s more or less what gave the Independence Party enough juice to become effective. If the Conservative Party didn’t make its nut this go-round that would leave Working Families and Independence as the dominant down ticket parties. I wonder if they would retain their influence?


  1. The Republican Convention | WNYmedia.net - June 2, 2010

    […] Electoral Fusion Ruins New York Some More (wnymedia.net) […]

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