Dutchess County for Lazio, Saratoga Stalling

ALBANY—The latest county to endorse Rick Lazio’s gubernatorial bid–in advance of a formal endorsement by Rudy Giuliani this afternoon–is Dutchess County.

“The Hudson Valley needs new ideas and new leadership representing it in Albany,” said Mike McCormack, the Dutchess Republican leader, in a statement sent by the Lazio camp. “The current government has failed. It’s time for someone with knowledge of both the private sector and public sector to take over. Rick Lazio has been a friend to the Republican Party for a long time and understands what must be done to bring about a new era of accountability, transparency, and economic prosperity. I am proud to offer him my endorsement.”

As Liz notes, this is probably the start of a deluge. Lazio announced the endorsement of Chautauqua County this morning, and Oneida County yesterday. Many chairs were waiting to see what Giuliani did before declaring their support, but with the need to raise money against, potentially, a well-stoked Andrew Cuomo, it’s going to be difficult to wait much longer.

Chris Collins, the Erie County executive who is also making noise about running for governor, has been on the phones this morning.

“I just got a call today from Chris Collins, who’s out there in Erie County, so we’ll certainly entertain both him and Rick Lazio, but we want everyone to be involved,” said Jasper Nolan, the longtime chairman of the Saratoga County Republican Committee. “We’re not going to do anything until we get a full picture of who the candidates are.”

I asked Nolan about Giuliani, who he had supported previously.

“I’m still fond of him. I don’t think he expects us to beg him, but I think he has another agenda,” he said. “I think his rationale is maybe he just feels that he’d rather do something else. Those people are wackos down there. And here we’re going to put Joe Bruno in jail? They’re bribing people down there. Bribing! And they call it sweeteners. Where’s the Supreme Court on that one? They’re bribing Nelson, they’re bribing others. It is scary. Scary.”