From the NY Times:
A governor’s race that seemed all but settled could soon be upended again, by a popular Democrat from Long Island who is planning to switch parties, a move certain to excite Republican leaders pessimistic about their party’s hopes this fall.
Those leaders believe that the official, Steve Levy, a blunt-spoken fiscal hawk and contrarian who collected 96 percent of the vote in his last re-election bid, can tap into the public’s anti-incumbent sentiment and frustration with Albany’s overspending.
“There really seems to be a void out there that I can fit perfectly,” Mr. Levy said, describing Albany’s political culture as a “cesspool.”
“We’ve got to clean house, tear that place down and build it back in a cleaner, more efficient manner,” he added.
There is no question that Mr. Levy would add unpredictability to the race. He is known not only for his Puritan work ethic and stubborn frugality but also for his occasionally incendiary comments, especially on immigration. His detractors say he has stoked the anger of the largely white middle-class residents of Suffolk County, which is grappling with an influx of immigrants who are straining the social service system.
In 2005, Mr. Levy helped orchestrate a highly publicized raid on a house in Brookhaven, where the authorities rounded up dozens of suspected illegal immigrants. He once described foreign women who give birth after moving to the United States as having “anchor babies,” a term often used derisively by anti-immigrant groups. Asked in a recent interview whether he might have chosen his words more carefully, he was unapologetic. “There’s no need to,” he said. “The public is in agreement with me.”
His tendency to say what he believes is what he thinks voters find appealing about him. “I mean, I came out of nowhere for a lot of people,” he said. “And when they started paying attention to what I was saying, it’s like: ‘Wow. This guy is saying what I’ve been thinking for years.’ ”
In the county, he has reduced spending throughout the $2.6 billion budget, through steps like doing away with county vehicles, authorizing fewer hires of county employees and leaving unfilled positions vacant. He has fiercely battled public employee unions, and says he will do the same if he goes to Albany.
Holy shit! Where do I send my check?