Ex-Rep. Lazio quits bid for N.Y. governor

Former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) has decided to bow out of New York's race for governor and cede the stage to real estate developer Carl Paladino (R) to face state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) in November.

After being upset by Tea Party-backed Paladino in the GOP primary earlier this month, Lazio left open the possibility that he would run on the Conservative Party line in the general election creating a three-way race. 

But Lazio said Monday that if he were to remain in the race, it would make a Democratic victory in November more likely.   

“While my heart beckons me forward, my head tells me that my continued presence on the Conservative line would simply lead to the election of Andrew Cuomo and the continuation of an entrenched political machine,” Lazio said at a Monday news conference, according to Bloomberg news

Several new polls out last week showed Cuomo leading Paladino, but a Quinnipiac poll put the challenger within just 6 points of Cuomo.  

Even with polls suggesting a tight race, big name Republicans have steered clear of Paldino who has been criticized for emails he has forwarded. Paladino has said he is channeling voter anger in his race, vowing at a campaign stop to "take a bat" to Albany.