NY GOP gathers to choose state candidates

NEW YORK - (AP) - New York Republicans gathered Tuesday for athree-day convention marked by uncertainty over which candidate -or candidates - would emerge to compete with Democrat Andrew Cuomoin the governor's race.

Delegates were expected to designate candidates for sixstatewide offices, including attorney general, lieutenant governor,and two U.S. Senate seats. Their first vote, for state comptroller,went unanimously to former hedge fund manager Harry Wilson.

They later voted to allow two candidates to compete in a primaryto take on Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Delegates gave theparty's official designation to Gary Berntsen, a retired decoratedCIA agent who drew significant backing from tea party activists. Asecond candidate, communications consultant Jay Townsend, receivedenough support to run in the September primary as well. The winnerwill face Schumer in the general election.

But most of the convention drama centered on the bitterlydivided governor's contest, with the pivotal vote set for Wednesdaymorning.

The contest pitted former Rep. Rick Lazio against Buffalobusinessman Carl Paladino, Manhattan real estate executive MyersMermel, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who jumped fromthe Democratic Party to run for governor as a Republican. Delegateswill vote Wednesday whether to designate a preferred candidate ofthe four, but could also cast a second vote allowing more than onecandidate to run in the September primary.

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