Via Elizabeth Benjamin in the Daily News, House Minority Whip (and Republican Rebranding specialist) Eric Cantor will be a special guest tonight at a fundraiser for self-funding millionaire Suffolk County House candidate Randy Altschuler. On the host committee: Bush loyalist, Iraq Coalition advisor and celebrity spouse Dan Senor, who is considering taking a run at the Republican nomination for Kirsten Gillibrand’s Senate seat, reportedly with the possible support of Mayor Bloomberg.
Why else this is complicated: one of Altschuler’s six current opponents has the support of local Republican Chair John Jay LaValle, who is not at all supportive of Altschuler. The candidate who has LaValle’s enthusiasm is Christopher Nixon Cox, the son of State GOP Chair Ed Cox, and the grandson of pretty much who you were thinking.
Altschuler has his own base of support: he’s inherited the campaign staff who helped insurgent Doug Hoffman drive the Republican candidate out of the race for John McHugh’s NY-23 seat and throw the seat to the Democrats, and he claims the mantle of the Tea Party movement. Apparently, that’s a mantle Cantor and Senor are interested in getting under.
According to Benjamin, who tends to be reliable about these things, LaValle’s support of Chris Cox is popularly believed to be tied to his dad’s flirtation with nominally Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who has a nice healthy campaign chest, to run against Lazio for the Republican nomination. She says that both Cox and LaValle deny that, but Cox has been less than enthusiastic about Lazio in the past. LaValle, apparently, has endorsed Lazio, and is serving as his county chair, but is “encouraging” new candidates to come forward.
At one time, LaValle was more enthusiastic about Altschuler, who is willing to spend a great deal of his own money to take on incumbent Tim Bishop, whose less-than-enthusiastic view of the public option caused a certain amount of consternation among liberal activists.
Unfortunately for Altschuler, his history of outsourcing jobs overseas didn’t poll well.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party, which has a great deal of influence on politics in the southern regions of the state, is having its convention next Saturday. Conservative Party head Mike Long currently supports Lazio, and Benjamin says he’s holding a lot of proxies. Also, this weekend Lazio picked up the endorsements of state Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Lou Tobacco of the Staten Island GOP, which is legendarily close to the Conservative Party. On the other hand, Staten Island GOP stalwarts Councilmen James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio haven’t endorsed yet.
I’m not at all sure what any of this means. What I’m reasonably certain of is that if Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman are sufficiently unconcerned about the National GOP leadership, the State GOP leadership, the local GOP leadership, the mighty power of the Tea Party Movement and Mike Long to be publicly considering entering the NY-1 race, nobody else is completely certain either.