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The Conservative Party of New York State is an American political party active in the state of New Yorkmarker. It is not part of any nationwide party, nor is it affiliated with the American Conservative Party, which it predates by over 40 years.

History

The Conservative Party of New York State was founded in 1962 by a group including J. Daniel Mahoney, Charles E. Rice, and Charles Edison, out of frustration with the perceived liberalism of the state's Republican Party. A key consideration was New York's fusion voting, almost unique among US states, allowing candidates to accumulate separate votes from more than one party. This was being used by the Liberal Party of New York to encourage Republican and Democratic candidates to compete for left-leaning support.

The Conservative Party founders hoped to balance the Liberal Party's influence. An early supporter was National Review founder William F. Buckley, who served as the party's candidate for mayor of New York City in 1965. In 1970, William's brother James Buckley was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Conservative Party candidate; in 1976, he ran for reelection as a candidate of the Republican and Conservative Parties, losing to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In the 2004 U.S. Senate election, the Conservative Party endorsed Marilyn O'Grady to oppose Republican candidate Howard Mills and incumbent Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.

The Conservative Party of New York State has often been aligned with Catholic voters and candidates.

Strategy

Rather than nominating its own candidates, the Conservative Party usually endorses the same candidates as the Republican Party and campaigns against the Democratic candidates. It withholds this support from the Republicans if it deems them too liberal. For example, the Conservative Party withheld its support from Republican Rudy Giuliani's fusion campaigns with endorsement from the Liberal Party for New York City mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997. The decision not to endorse party-switching Syracuse state Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffmann cost the GOP that seat in the 2004 election. However it has also endorsed Democratic candidates as well, such as controversial former Buffalomarker mayor and presidential candidate Jimmy Griffin, who was initially elected mayor solely on the Conservative ticket but had Republican support as well for his subsequent campaigns. It also cross-endorsed such Democrats as former Manhattanmarker District Attorney Frank Hogan and Capital District Congressman Michael McNulty. No Republican has won statewide office in New York without Conservative Party support since 1974.

1990 gubernatorial election

Herb London was the Conservative Party's nominee for Governor of New York in 1990; that year, the Party broke from the Republican Party, declining to cross-endorse Republican nominee Pierre Rinfret. London ran a strong campaign statewide and finished one percentage point behind Rinfret, while Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo won re-election. Had London finished ahead of Republican nominee Rinfret, the Republican Party would have ceased being a major party in New York State and would have lost that status to the Conservative Party.

2006 elections

The party lobbied against Jeanine Pirro's candidacy for the 2006 Senate election against Hillary Clinton. Pirro was a liberal Republican and was supported by Governor George Pataki and other GOP leaders who saw her as the only candidate who could compete against Clinton. Under pressure from the Conservative Party and factions within the GOP, Pirro withdrew from the race in November 2005 to run for state attorney general (this time, with the endorsement of the Conservative Party). She was defeated in that race by Andrew Cuomo. Most Conservative Party state and county leaders supported John Spencer, former mayor of Yonkers, New Yorkmarker. While Spencer received the Republican nomination, he was defeated by Clinton in the general election.

In the race for Governor, Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long endorsed John Faso, the former Assembly Minority Leader and Republican State Comptroller nominee in 2002. Faso also received the endorsements of county branches of the Conservative Party. Bill Weld, John Faso's primary contender, received lukewarm support from the Conservative Party due to his support of abortion and same-sex marriage; Weld considered running on the Libertarian Party ticket. Faso was the nominee of both the Republican and Conservative parties, but was defeated by Eliot Spitzer.

2008 presidential election

The Conservative Party nominated Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin for president and vice president in the 2008 election.

2009 election

The Conservative Party nominated Doug Hoffman for the special congressional election in the 23rd congressional district, an election won by the Democratic nominee, Bill Owens. The Conservative Party chose Hoffman, a fiscal and social conservative, in reaction to the Republican Party's nomination of pro-choice, pro-same-sex-marriage, pro-union Assemblymember Dede Scozzafava, who Chairman Mike Long declared to be a "nice lady who is too liberal." On October 31, 2009, Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign, leading prominent Republicans such as national chairman Michael Steele to endorse Hoffman. Owens defeated Hoffman 49.0% to 45.5%.

Stephen Christopher, the party's nominee for Mayor of New York City, came in third with 1.7% of the vote.

References

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