Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards was named the preferred lieutenant governor candidate today by Republican delegates at the party’s state convention in Manhattan.
In his acceptance speech, Edwards detailed the economic woes of upstate counties. But despite their problems, and in spite of Albany’s issues, the upstate leaders have balanced budgets and cut spending during a financial crisis.
“They’re getting it done despite Albany’s setbacks,” he said.
Edwards also said the head of the ticket, former Rep. Rick Lazio, is willing to serve one term in exchange for making unpopular, but necessary decisions.
“He’s willing to be a one-term governor to get that done,” Edwards said.
Edwards was selected by Lazio, of Long Island, in part to balance the ticket with an upstate-downstate dichotomy. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo made a similar pick in Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy.
Edwards also congratulated delegates for not bending to pressure from unnamed influential people in the party who backed other candidates for the Republican designation for governor. He said he watched one delegate receive a call from an “influential” person pressuring her to change her vote.
“She stood on principal, she stood on core values,” Edwards said. “She walked up to the mic and stood on core values. That’s the kind of character Republicans have in New York state.”
Lazio’s rival for the Republican nomination, Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy of Suffolk County, had the backing of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox. After Levy failed to muster the necessary votes to win the designation on Wednesday, Cox backed Lazio.