The New York State Independence Party is venturing into major party presidential politics for the first time to endorse Senator McCain.
The move might seem odd given that the party in 2004 endorsed consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a candidate best known for his left-wing politics. The organization's state chairman, Frank MacKay, said the state party felt that Mr. McCain, a Republican, was not beholden to partisan interests and therefore justified the nod. "It's not that we endorsed a major party candidate, it's that for the first time one of the major parties ran an independent," Mr. MacKay said in an interview yesterday. "He's a maverick and somebody who has driven his party crazy. The special interest groups in his party certainly didn't want him — I'm amazed he got through."
In a joint statement yesterday, four county chairman of the New York City Independence Party criticized the state party for endorsing Mr. McCain. The city and state arms have battled for control in recent years after clashing over the role in the party of Dr. Lenora Fulani, who sparked a political firestorm in 2005 after refusing to apologize for anti-Semitic comments she had made in the past that had resurfaced.