NEW YORK — Political novice and tea party ally Carl Paladino has beaten the Republican designee in the race for the party’s nomination for New York governor.
Paladino rode a wave of voter anger on his way to defeating former Congressman Rick Lazio. It’s another blow to the GOP in a heavily Democratic state.
Paladino, a millionaire Buffalo developer, will now take on the popular and well-financed Democratic attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, in November.
Pace the wire service, though, this is not necessarily a blow to the GOP (in the sense of making Republican elections victories more difficult), only to the New York GOP establishment.
Nate Silver wrote yesterday:
Mr. Paladino’s nomination would not harm Republican electoral prospects in an immediate way. This is because, according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecasting model, neither he, nor Mr. Lazio, would seem to stand much chance against Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic nominee. Our gubernatorial model regards Mr. Lazio as more than a 100-to-1 underdog to beat Mr. Cuomo – and Mr. Paladino as a 300-to-1 underdog. (Some tightening in the race is to be expected.)
Silver goes on to say that Paladino might be bad news for Republicans in that there are numerous competitive races in New York, and “[i]f Mr. Paladino motivates Democrats – or does not motivate Republicans – liberal candidates could win more than their fair share of these races.” That’s true, but given that Cuomo is going to be seen as a shoe-in regardless, and given the national mood, it’s not at all clear that a conservative gubernatorial candidate won’t motivate Republican voters much more than he motivates Democrats.