Taxpayers Party: Tea Party on the Ballot?

"Have you signed the petition for the Taxpayers line?," asked Judy Pepenella.

"Excuse me sir, would you be interested in signing the Taxpayers Party petition?"

Judy was spending a hot summer Saturday in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Holbrook, New York, on Long Island, helping to start a new political party line, the Taxpayers Party. Supporters say it is a Tea Party inspired effort that will put Tea Party principles in the voting booth in November.

With enthusiasm and gusto, she cornered shoppers and many agreed to sign.

"I'm out here collecting signatures for the Taxpayers Party to give the people back their voice in Congress," she explained.

"What's the Taxpayers Party stand for?," asked one prospective signer.

"What it represents is lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, smaller government, let free markets prevail, and follow the constitution," Judy answered. She works for the Long Island based Conservative Society For Action, and says if you can't directly vote for the Tea Party, the Taxpayers Party is the way to go.

"The people are tired of politics as usual. We are aggravated, disgusted with the good old boys club and their games. This is our way of saying, we have had enough," she says.

Organizers need to file 15,000 signatures with the New York State Board of Elections by August 17th, to ensure that the Taxpayers Party will appear on the ballot. They claim to have already gathered more than double that number, and have already filed about 28,000 with election officials.

The effort is the brainchild of Carl Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo, New York developer who is running for the Republican nomination for Governor.

"I look at the people in the movement and I look at the Taxpayer line as a moment in time," Paladino told Fox News.

"We decided on the name Taxpayers, which we think is broadly inclusive of the people who accept our message...our intent is to cut spending and the size of state government in the first year, down 20%," saying "reckless taxing and fees" have "justified a bloated, glutinous government."

Paladino faces former Republican Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio, who ran against Hillary Clinton for the Senate in 2000. Lazio has already sewn up the endorsement of the state's Conservative Party.

Paladino says the Taxpayers Party "is in competition with the Conservative Party, in competition with all parties for that matter. I think there is going to be a groundswell of people going there to show their protest, as taxpayers they've had enough. Enough is enough is enough."

Supporters say that almost two dozen other candidates for Federal and State offices in New York also want to run on the Taxpayers line.

But Lazio says he is not concerned about the potential of the Taxpayers line siphoning votes away from the Conservative line.

"I am not worried about that, the only thing I am really worried about is apathy," Lazio told Fox News. "The enemy is apathy and the people who have given up."

Lazio, who served four terms in Congress, says he has always espoused the goals of less taxes and spending.

"There is an enormous distrust of politicians and political parties," he says. "What I say to people is don't just listen to what people say when they are running for office, look at their record...In my case, I have always voted for lower taxes, I have always voted for lower spending. I have built balanced budgets in the private sector and the public sector and I will do the same thing when I am in Albany."

The veteran chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, Michael Long, accuses Paladino of just trying to exploit the Tea Party name for his own political purposes.

"It's not a movement for a new political party," Long told Fox News. "This is a Carl Paladino operation that is taking advantage of the word 'Tea Party'."

Long, a pugnacious Brooklynite, has never hesitated to defend his party's principles. He points out that the Conservative Party has been around for almost 50 years.

"If there ever was a true Tea Party, the Conservative Party has been the leader for the anti-tax movement in New York State. We've been very clear on where we stand on spending and taxes and the size of government, so we're the originators, we're the original Tea Party."

"The Taxpayers line goes right at the Conservative Party's constituency," observes New York Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. "The very people who vote Conservative are fed up with taxes and waste, which they see as corruption."

He thinks if the Taxpayers Party is successful, it could chip away at the Conservative Party, but says "the long term effects of these movements may be the splintering of parties, and that is a danger to Democracy."

If the Taxpayers line gets 50,000 votes in November, it will stay on the ballot for the next election.

In 2008, when Senator John McCain ran for President, he received 170,475 votes on the Conservative Party line. During the last statewide election in New York in 2006, the Conservative Party candidate for U.S. Senate garnered 179,287 votes, and the candidate for Governor received 168,654 votes.

But Judy, who was pounding the pavement with the Taxpayers Party petitions, is confident she is on to something.

"There are people who are angry...Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and this gives them another line to vote on."

On Sunday, August 15th, Fox News Channel is scheduled to cover an update on this story. It will appear during the 11 A.M. ET on "America's News Headquarters," anchored by Jamie Colby and Eric Shawn.