ALBANY—Rick Lazio today announced the support of the Niagara County Republican chairman Mike Norris, a move which is a blow at Chris Collins, county executive in neighboring Erie County, who has made noise about entering a primary against Lazio for the Republican line for governor.
Lazio and Norris appeared together at an event today, and Norris told the Buffalo News‘ Bob McCarthy that “the people of Niagara County and throughout this state are looking for someone who will deliver fundamental change to New York, and Rick Lazio is that person,” he said. “Most importantly, we need someone who will create jobs in Western New York. I believe the person who can best do that as governor is Rick Lazio.”
There’s another dimension at work: Lazio was perceived as supporting the bid of Henry Wojtaszek, the former Niagara County chair, to take over the Republican State Committee. Collins supported Ed Cox, who eventually was selected.
“I think that every county chair and county party has to ultimately look at the race and make the decisions that they think are best,” said Jim Domagalski, the Erie County Republican chairman and a Collins backer. “There’s only one declared candidate in the race right now, and it’s Mr. Lazio. I think anybody making an endorsement until we know what the field is might be premature. That’s my feeling about it.”