Earlier this month, Rick Lazio lost New York’s Republican gubernatorial primary in a surprise upset to Carl Paladino. Lazio, however, had already received the nomination of the Conservative Party, and so would have remained on the ballot–likely drawing more votes away from Paladino than from the Democratic nominee, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. But today, Lazio dropped out of the race, and asked that his name be removed from the Conservative Party ballot line.

Former Representative Rick A. Lazio has agreed to have his name removed as the Conservative Party’s candidate for governor, in a decision that bolsters the candidacy of the Republican candidate, Carl P. Paladino.

Mr. Paladino is expected to agree to have his name replace Mr. Lazio’s on the Conservative Party line, according to a person close to Mr. Lazio who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to upstage Mr. Lazio.

A recent Marist poll (PDF) of the race that included Lazio on the Conservative Party ticket had him winning nine percent of the vote. Compared to other polls that excluded Lazio, most of Lazio’s votes would now be assumed to go to Paladino. With Lazio taking even a few percent of the right-leaning vote with the Conservative Party line, Paladino probably had no hope of winning. Indeed, no Republican in recent memory has won the Governorship without the Conservatie party nomination. So, with Lazio of the ballot, and Paladino likely listd on both the GOP and Conserative lines, the Bufalo millionaire has a slightly better (though still not particularly good) chance of beating Democrat Cuomo in November.