An obviously relieved and elated Rick Lazio took to the stage at the convention to accept his party’s gubernatorial nomination and wasted no time in targeting his Democratic foe, calling on voters to “reject the status Cuomo.”

Lazio thanked his three GOP opponents – Steve Levy, Myers Mermel and Carl Paladino – and also gave a shout-out to state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, whose fate is uncertain now that his preferred candidate, Levy, has failed to make the cut.


The former Long Island congressman then turned his attention to the Democrats – and, more specifically, Cuomo, seeking right away to undercut the AG’s argument that he’s an Albany outsider and not party to the dysfunction wrought by the Democrats at the Capitol.

“Andrew Cuomo can’t take on the Albany establishment because Andrew Cuomo is the Albany establishment,” Lazio said.

“…Andrew Cuomo has been consumed by power his entire career – a fixture in New York State politics for decades. Its been 30 years since he sat on his father’s right side as his most influential advisor…we can’t afford his past as New York’s future.”

Lazio then trotted out the “reject the status Cuomo” line that is also adorning his campaign signs (also featured: A pair of red boxing gloves).

I suspect we’ll be hearing that one a lot going forward.

Lazio also rejected the idea that Cuomo is “invincible” with his $16+ million worth of campaign cash and double-digit lead in the polls, saying: “You know what I say to that? Bring him on!”

There were a lot of cheering Lazio supporters in the crowd, but the response in the convention hall for the GOP gubernatorial designee was a little on the muted side.

Maybe that’s because everyone burned themselves out during the two roll call votes. At the same time, that vote proved there are clear divisions in the party that will likely take some time to heal.

And if there’s a fight over Cox’s leadership, the healing process is only going to take that much longer.