By Ryan Morden, contributing writer
Fulton N.Y. – Suffolk County Executive and candidate for governor Steve Levy likes to compare his switch from Democratic party to Republican to Ronald Reagan’s conversion.
“Remember that Ronald Reagan switched from a Democrat to a Republican when he was 51 years of age. I beat him by a year. I’m 50,â€ said Levy.
Heâ€™s trying to use that frame to win over Republicans all over the state, like the Oswego County committee members.
At a meeting last night in Fulton, he reached out to those who might be weary of his party switch.
“The key is going to be who has the experience as a proven tax cutter,” said Levy.
He’s running as a resume candidate, who says his experience as the top executive in Suffolk County qualifies him to be the top executive for the entire state of New York.
Levy faces a primary challenge against former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.
Oswego County Legislator from Hannibal, Terry Wilbur, says heâ€™s keeping an open mind as who to support.
â€œItâ€™s early still. Iâ€™m here to hear to listen. Iâ€™ve heard Rickâ€™s side. I want to hear what they stand for,â€ said Wilbur.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released earlier this week shows that a majority of Republican voters share Wilburâ€™s view.
40% of Republican voters are undecided. Lazio has the most with 34%. Levy and Paladino each stand at 11%.
If Levy can win the GOP nomination, the poll shows he will have an up hill battle against Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in the General Election.
“I’m not worried about the polls right now, that’s what campaigns are for,â€ said Levy.
According to the Quinnipiac Poll, Cuomo tramples Levy by 57-to-25%.
â€œJuxtaposed against his background of no executive experience is my background of having taken a county in disarray, righting the ship, having six years in a row without any general fund tax increases,â€ said Levy, unfazed.
He says it’ll be his resume against Cuomo’s, and he’s confident that voters will bank on him in November.
Today, Levy plans to continue meeting with Republican Party leaders in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.