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Governor's race creates divide in the Republican Party

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Governor's race creates divide in the Republican Party
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Just a week to go before republicans gather for their state convention in New York City. With likely democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo holding a huge lead in the polls, the GOP might be expected to have party unity high on their wish list for what will be a difficult contest. YNN's Bill Carey reports, though, that the race for Governor continues to create divides within the Republican Party.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It wasn't too long ago that Rick Lazio expected that, by this point, he would be on a victory lap. And, for appearances sake, he is. Picking up the endorsement of a county executive.

"Albany has become the problem for us and he committed to me a long time ago that he was going to do things differently," said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Introducing his new running mate, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.

"And it's going to take two Albany outsiders. People that are not part of the Albany cocktail circuit," Lazio said.

Running for more than a year now, this should be the week that Rick Lazio is approaching a victory at the republican convention. But there are still many questions about the outcome.

"We in the Republican Party are going to have a fair and open convention," said New York State Republican Chairman Edward Cox.

While Lazio was talking like a winner, his own party's chairman still voices doubts.

"Mr. Lazio is a good candidate and he'd make a great governor. I just feel that Mr. Levy is better," Cox said.

Cox has been pushing the until-recently democratic executive of Suffolk County, Steve Levy, as an option. There have also been reports of discussions with other potential contenders in recent days.

"This was not recruiting at all. People were giving me information about what their intentions were. What they would like to do," Cox said.

Cox promises there will be no "behind the scenes" maneuvering to gain Levy a spot on a primary battle. It is up to the delegates, not him, to decide, he says.

Back in a public square, Lazio tries to discount Cox's effort.

"We're going into the convention with a super majority. So I would not accept the premise that republicans are divided. There are a couple of people who have a different view. They're not going to prevail," Lazio said.

And what happens if Rick Lazio becomes the nominee in the end? Ed Cox sees no reason not to continue on as chairman.

"I'm going to be fully behind him, of course," Cox said.

But can Rick Lazio work with Cox?

"I'm going to leave that up to the Republican Party to decide what they want to do. Nice try," said Lazio.

There are three announced candidates for the republican nomination -- Lazio, Steve Levy and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

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