Conservative hopefuls meet with Suffolk 9-12 Project members

09/12/2010 12:00 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO
Carl Paladino visited Riverhead Friday to speak with members of
the Suffolk 9-12 Project.

Carl Paladino, who is challenging party designee Rick Lazio in a Republican primary Tuesday, was one of several Republicans in primary races who came to Riverhead Friday night to rally support from members of the Suffolk 9-12 Project, a local Tea Party group.
Mr. Paladino, an attorney and developer from Buffalo, said he only seeks to serve one four-year term as New York State governor, if elected.
“I alone, amongst all the candidates, will best confront a dysfunctional and paralyzed government in Albany,” Mr. Paladino said Friday, citing his background in business and the fact that he’s not a “career politician.”
The Democratic candidate is Andrew Cuomo, the current attorney general and son of former Governor Mario Cuomo. Mr. Paladino accused him of avoiding taking a stand on controversial issues.
He called Mr. Lazio, a former Congressman, a “liberal lobbyist.” Recent polls have shown Mr. Lazio ahead of Mr. Paladino, although Mr. Paladino believes he can win and that the polling methods are flawed.
Others who spoke include Chris Cox, the party designee to oppose incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), and George Demos, who also is seeking the Republican nod for that position Tuesday. Randy Alschuler, the third name on the Repubican ballot, was invited but did not attend, according to Suffolk 9-12 president Bob Meyer of Baiting Hollow. He said Mr. Lazio also was invited, but did not attend.
Also speaking was David Malpass, an economist who served on the staffs of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and who is seeking the Republican nod to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Also in that Republican primary is party designee Bruce Blakeman, a former Nassau County legislator, and Joe DioGuardi, a former Congressman who is now best known as the father of “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi. Mr. Blakeman and Mr. DioGuardi also weren’t present Friday night.
Mr. Meyer said the Suffolk 9-12 Party has officially supported Gary Berntsen, who is the Republican Party designee against incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Brooklyn), and Mr. Cox. Mr. Berntsen, a former CIA agent from Port Jefferson, who was not present Friday but sent a representative, is facing a Republican primary battle Tuesday from Jay Townsend, who has the Conservative Party designation.
Mr. Meyer said the Suffolk 9-12 Project would be voting before the election on whether to endorse Mr. Paladino.
tgannon@timesreview.com