New York Conservative Party

A Short History

A Short History of the Conservative Party

The Conservative Party was formed in 1962 to restore a meaningful choice to the voters of New York State. At that time, the three existing political parties espoused the doctrinaire liberal philosophy of the welfare state at home and the collectivist ideology abroad. In our 62 years, the party has grown from a small band of conservative-minded men and women to a statewide organization dedicated to the traditional American values of individual freedom, individual responsibility, and individual effort.

From a humble beginning garnering 141,000 votes on ballot Row F, our principles have attracted Empire State voters in sufficient numbers to raise the Party to Row C and twice received over a million votes for our candidate in a statewide election. From the founding of the party, it has been successively chaired by Kieran O’Doherty, J. Daniel Mahoney, Serphin R. Maltese, Michael R. Long and Gerard Kassar. Through the leadership of these men and the hard work of committee members, the Conservative Party elected James L. Buckley to the U. S. Senate, William Carney to the House of Representatives, Serphin R. Maltese to the State Senate, Rosemary R. Gunning, Charles Jerabek and Angela M. Wozniak to the State Assembly. History was made in New York City with the 2001 election of then Conservative Party Executive Vice Chairman James P. Molinaro as the Borough President of Staten Island and his reelections in 2005 and 2009.

The 1994 elections were a breakthrough for the Conservative Party as we provided the margin of victory for Governor George E. Pataki with the 326,605 votes cast on our line. Attorney General Vacco narrowly defeated radical Karen Burstein by 88,340 votes. He received 305,961 votes on the Conservative Line. In 1998, 348,272 votes for Governor George E. Pataki were cast on the Conservative line, over 20,000 more than in 1994, an anomaly in political history.

In the past 62 years, the Conservative Party has played many pivotal roles in electing officials from every political division from Supreme Court Justices to Village Justices, County Executives to Village Board Members, Mayors and City Council Members to Ward Leaders, and will continue to play a pivotal role in the process of electing those who are committed to conservative values.

Our strong support of term limits was instrumental when New York City voters went to the polls two separate times and defeated proposed changes to the term limits for the offices of Mayor and the City Council previously enacted.

1990’s: Herb London ran for governor on the Conservative Party line only and garnered 827,614 votes, just 1% less than the republican candidate. The Conservative Party led the citizens of New York in defeating the $2.4 billion School Bond Act. Liberals outspent us 6 to 1 in trying to pass what would have been nothing more than a colossal waste of taxpayer money and, we defeated the proposal for a Constitutional Convention.

2000’s: we were instrumental in defeating the most expensive transportation bond issues ever placed on the ballot, and in defeating the “non-partisan election” ballot question in New York City and the raising of the debt limit for small city school districts. We led the way to defeat the ill-conceived “Power Grab” by Albany’s legislators. The Conservative Party’s candidate for the 23rd CD, Doug Hoffman, running on the CPNYS line alone, garnered 45.98% of the vote. The race energized a grassroots response seldom seen in politics; and helped give birth to the “TEA Party” movement.

2010’s: the Conservative Party regained Row C when Carl Paladino was our gubernatorial candidate and provided the margin of victory to numerous elected officials. We provided the margin of victory in a special election to Bob Turner who took back a Congressional Seat held by Democrats for eighty years. We helped pass a Constitutional Amendment that requires any elected official convicted of a felony related to their duties to forfeit their pension. We led a coalition to defeat passage of a Constitutional Convention again. The Conservative Party vote was the margin of victory in many important races including the flipping of several County Legislatures and Towns including Hempstead, the largest town in the United States. Additionally, enrolled members of the Conservative Party enjoyed victories ranging from State Supreme Court to Town Councils making 2019 a banner year.

2020’s: the Conservative Party continued to provide the margin of victory in local races. We were the crucial voice in defeating Statewide Ballot Propositions that sought to undermine the redistricting and voting process in New York State by establishing same day voter registration and no excuse absentee voting. We led the fight against the legislative proposed redistricting lines and won in the Court of Appeals to have the new lines drawn by an independent master as required by law; and Congressman Lee Zeldin received over 313,000 votes for Governor. In 2023, the Conservative Party Spearheaded many local election victories. The 2023-2024 Legislature elected 22 State Senators and 49 Assembly Members designated by the Conservative Party. The 118th Congress elected 11 Representatives from New York State who ran with conservative designation. Statewide the Party has forged strong links to the Republicans and Democrats of compatible views that has slowed the complete leftward drift of local governments. On the
national level, we are affiliated with the American Conservative Union. Although we are not formally affiliated with any other national conservative organization, we are recognized as the influential New York branch of the American conservative movement and maintain a close and cordial relationship with conservative organizations and public officials in other states and Washington, D.C.

President Ronald Reagan stated; “The Conservative Party has established itself as a preeminent force in New York Politics and an important part of our political history.”

President Donald J. Trump noted “It’s not easy to be an unapologetic conservative in one of the most liberal states in America, but your loyalty and commitment to the cause of freedom have paid off with a growing and thriving Party.”

With your help, the Conservative Party continues its vital role in shaping the political agenda of the State and Nation.