Levy, a Democrat, has $4 million in his campaign coffers and has regularly been mentioned as a potential statewide candidate, if not for governor than attorney general if Attorney General Andrew Cuomo runs for governor as expected.
Levy’s political consultant Michael Dawidziak said this afternoon that Levy’s focused solely on a potential run for governor, saying that his skill set is as an executive.
“On a sheer resume, I would question anybody to challenge the statement that he has the best resume to run for governor,” Dawidziak said.
Dawidziak said Levy’s intention would be to seek the Democratic nomination, though he wouldn’t rule out Levy discussing a potential run on the GOP line, saying it is something that would have to be offered, not sought.
If Levy seeks the Democratic nomination for governor, it would complicate what is expected to be a battle between Gov. David Paterson and Cuomo, potentially splitting Democrats even further despite polls showing Cuomo with a huge lead among Democratic voters.
Earlier this year, there was some talk of Levy running as a Republican, in part because the conservative Democrat has angered Democrats within his own party, particularly his position on illegal immigration and some of his comments on the issue.
In a news release, Levy touts his ability to oversee difficult fiscal times, saying he inherited a $238 million budget shortfall in 2004, the largest in Suffolk County history and turned it into a surplus, leading to six years without a tax increase. He’s in his second term as county executive and is a former state assemblyman.
“I relish the challenge and opportunity of taking a government on fiscal life support and, through needed fiscal discipline, bringing it back to health,” Levy said. “I would be one guy who would turn the state upside down and inside out. I would run the state like our families balance their checkbooks, understanding that there must be a bottom line.”
Updated: Levy called in to talk some more about his potential candidacy, saying his experience as an executive is the right one for the state’s tough fiscal condition. He said he oversees a county larger than about a dozen states.
Levy wouldn’t rule out a run for another potential statewide office, instead of governor, but said “The position that intrigues me the most is an executive one.”
He said he would welcome support from other parties, as he received when he was cross endorsed in 2007 by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, but he said he’s a Democrat.
And on immigration, he said his position is no different than President Obama’s: He supports legal immigration, but opposes illegal immigration. He said the issue was prominent in his county executive primary in 2003, but Levy still won support among Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin.