A divided New York State Republican Party will have at least two candidates vying for a chance to run against freshman Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the fall--and potentially a third.
Top vote-getter Bruce Blakeman is trying to appeal to grassroots supporters and Tea Party activists. At his acceptance speech, he drew a sharp line between himself and the Republican establishment.
"I'm criticizing a class of elitists who think they can control this party with power and money," Blakeman said.
He will square off against former Presidential advisor David Malpass for the Republican nomination. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi did not make the cuts, but could also get on the primary ballot, if he gets enough petition signatures.
Republican chairman Ed Cox portrayed the party fault-lines as healthy.
"We're an energized party,” he said. “Of course we have contests."
In the gubernatorial race, Republicans rejected Cox's preferred candidate, Steve Levy, in favor of former Congressman Rick Lazio. He'll face a challenge from upstate businessman Carl Paladino, who said he'll petition his way onto the September ballot.