He’s Back: Rick Lazio To Announce Run For Governor


lazioRick Lazio has taken a leave from his job as an executive vice president at JP Morgan Chase in preparation for a formal announcement that he will run for governor in 2010, a campaign spokesman confirmed.  The announcement will come on Sept. 21, according to Kevin Fullington, who also recently took a leave from his day job to work full-time on Lazio’s campaign.

Lazio has also formally retained Arthur Finkelstein, a political consultant perhaps best known (in New York, anyway) as a longtime advisor to former Gov. George Pataki who was instrumental in engineering the then-little known state Sen. Pataki’s 1994 victory over Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo.

(Ironic, since Lazio might very well be facing Cuomo’s son, AG Andrew Cuomo, next fall).

The former congressman’s nascent gubernatorial campaign already has a spokesman: Barney Keller, whose last job was as the communications director for the Massachusetts GOP.

Lazio has been gearing up for a gubernatorial run since at least January.

Unlike the 2000 US Senate race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, when he waited for Rudy Giuliani, only to end up being a late entry when the former mayor abruptly dropped out, Lazio isn’t waiting around for Giuliani this time.

Giuliani has said he won’t make a decision about the governor’s race until after the November elections.

The recent loss of his preferred state GOP candidate, Henry Wojtaszek, was seen as a blow to his political prowess, but Giuliani is still the favorite of many GOP county chairs – even as some insiders say they’d rather see him, and not Pataki, take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010.

Lazio is seen by many as a longshot gubernatorial contender, he trailed both Giuliani and Cuomo and tied Gov. David Paterson in a June 30 Marist poll.

However, Lazio does have at least one champion: State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long.

I asked one Democratic insider this morning to game out Lazio’s chances. The reply: “It depends on who the Democratic nominee is.”

This insider also suggested that one way to undercut Lazio would be to run video of his ill-fated debate against Clinton (the one in which he crossed the stage to jab his finger at her and demand she sign a campaign finance pledge) over and over. Lazio has since admitted that was a big mistake.

 {NY Daily News/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}