Mike Long: ‘Who Needs Any of Them?’

ALBANY—New York State Conservative Party chair Mike Long is disgusted.

"I think I have a real problem with both sides of the aisle with what they did. It cost the taxpayers $5 million for the circus and shenanigans that went on," said Long, the chairman of the State Conservative Party. "It wasn't about trying to cap property taxes; it was just a pure bare-bones power struggle. It's going to raise questions when we look at endorsements next year—we have an obligation to do that to the taxpayers of New York State."

I asked if he was ready to mount a "throw the bums out" campaign, which has been mumbled by some but which currently lacks the organization or money to get moving.

"There's plenty of people who have said that. My statement is: Who needs any of them?" Long replied. "It's a long way between now and next year, but right now the public is pretty p-o'd at them. If that sentiment holds, it could mean something."

Long, whose party often endorses Republicans, seemed disgusted with members of that party for choosing to ally with State Senators Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate. ("You never get into a deal with characters like that!" he said.)

"I do believe that the people I tend to support and endorse, right now if there was an election tomorrow, will be more hurt by the public than the people I don't usually support," he said. "Conservative-minded Republicans hold their elected officials to a higher standard than the liberal Democratic voters do."

He also said that a report that several Democrats received large salary increases amid the turmoil was "outrageous and disgraceful."