Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More electoral fusion in New York

New York is about the only state in the country that has a system where third parties robustly participate in elections, since the state retains electoral fusion. Electoral fusion allows small parties to cross-endorse the candidates from the major two parties. Although the two major parties continue to dominate the state's politics, this means that the smaller parties can wait in the wings for unusual situations and allow ideological voters to express their preferences in other ways.

It got a lot of attention back in the 2009 special election for New York's 23rd Congressional district, in which more Conservative Doug Doug Hoffmann beat more liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava for the seat, as voters in the right-leaning district attempted to signal their preference for a more conservative candidate.

Now, it might be consequential in the 2010 New York gubernatorial election, as Rick Lazio is still on the Conservative Party line against Republican nominee Carl Paladino after losing in the Republican primary.

More coverage:
Paladino Rout of Lazio Jolts New York G.O.P. (NYT)
Paladino and New York’s Republicans (538@NYT)
Poll Showing Gains by Paladino Excluded Key Candidate From Ballot (538@NYT):
A new poll this morning from Rasmussen Reports suggests significant tightening in the New York governor’s race. The poll has the Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, ahead 54 percent to 38 percent against Carl P. Paladino, the boisterous Buffalo businessman who soundly won the Republican primary last week against Rick Lazio.

...Still, there is one clear flaw with this poll, which is that it did not include an option for Mr. Lazio, who – even as he lost to Mr. Paladino among Republicans — won the Conservative Party’s nomination for governor and is expected to remain in the race. The Conservative Party is a big deal here in New York because of fusion voting, which allows multiple parties to endorse the same candidate on the ballot (Mr. Cuomo, for instance, is the nominee of the Democrats, as well as the liberal Working Families’ Party). Some voters in New York look toward the endorsements of the Conservative Party and the Working Families’ Party when filling out their ballots, and they can sometimes tip the outcome in a race.

But sometimes, the Conservative Party and the Republican Party split, as they have in this case — and this can have a much bigger influence on the outcome.
Or not. Rick Lazio has dropped out.

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