County Legislator Joe Lorigo is the son of Ralph Lorigo, the Conservative Party Chairman — a transactional but longtime figure in local politics. The elder Lorigo’s willingness to dole his party’s line to both Democrats and Republicans has earned him outsized political influence for a minor party of its size.
The elder Lorigo has been criticized for ideological inconsistency, causing some to speculate that self-dealing motivations drive his decision making.
One particular issue has been gay marriage. The elder Lorigo has allowed some candidates the Conservative Party endorsement despite their support of gay marriage, and has denied it to others precisely because of their support for gay marriage.
Most operatives agree that the younger Lorigo — who was a Democrat relatively recently –would not have obtained elected office without the behind-the-scenes horse trading that secured him a nomination. He works as debt collector and traffic lawyer at his father’s firm.
But operatives disagree over which issue is likely to dominate his reelection effort: nepotism or his seemingly opportunistic party switch. Some tea party operatives — especially those in his West Seneca and Southtowns district — are suspicious of his views, though no challenges from the right have yet materialized.