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Rick Lazio withdraws: How angry will New York governor's race get?

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Richard Drew/AP

(Read caption) Conservative Party candidate Rick Lazio, accompanied by his wife Patricia, addresses a New York news conference, on Sept. 27. Lazio withdrew from the race for New york governor.

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Rick Lazio has dropped out of the race for New York governor. What does that mean? It means that the campaign to run the Empire State, which was already at about 7 on a 1-to-10 scale of political drama, just got even more exciting.

Mr. Lazio’s departure will probably help Republican candidate Carl Paladino shave a few more percentage points off the gap between him and Democrat Andrew Cuomo, New York’s state attorney general. Recent polls have already shown Mr. Paladino, a "tea party" favorite and self-described “angry man,” is drawing closer to Mr. Cuomo, scion of one of the most storied families in New York Democratic politics.

Thus as we round the turn and head toward November the tone of the New York gubernatorial contest will likely be more and more combative, as the wealthy Paladino continues to describe what he’ll do to Albany with a baseball bat and as Cuomo insists that at heart he’s pretty darn angry, too.

How nasty will it get? It could get as tough as the slugfest in the Nevada Senate race between majority leader Harry Reid and GOP candidate Sharron Angle – only with much more expensive media consultants.

As he dropped out, Lazio complained that the Paladino-Cuomo race has already degenerated into name-calling and that the main candidates aren’t directly engaging each other.

The campaign “has defaulted to a mania over anger,” Lazio said.

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