The main speaker at Monday’s New York State delegation breakfast at the Republican National Convention was State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, and for good reason.
As he was introducing the Long Island legislator, state GOP Chairman Edward F. Cox referred to his own study of the top 10 Democratic states in the nation, with only New York boasting a Republican chamber in its legislature.
“His dedication to do what is right for New York State and his political skill in getting it done is the reason we have the majority party in the New York State Senate,” he said of the veteran lawmaker.
Skelos then launched into a list of accomplishments from the last two years, which he said has ended widespread use of the word “dysfunction” in Albany.
And while he was quick to blame Democrats generally for a host of evils, he never mentioned Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo or Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
The only Democrat Skelos specifically targeted was U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who he acknowledged will give Republican attorney Wendy Long a “tough race” this year.
“One day she’s Annie Oakley and the next day she’s Jane Fonda,” he said of Gillibrand’s shifting stands on gun control.
With a Buffalo News poll showing Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, D-Hamburg, within striking distance of Republican Chris Collins in New York’s GOP-heavy 27th Congressional District, you might think national Republicans would be worried.
Guy Harrison, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters Monday that he’s confident about the state of the race, even though the widely respected Rothenberg Political Report rates it a toss-up despite a 7-percentage-point Republican enrollment edge in the district.
“I’ll take being tied in August,” Harrison said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise, who was in charge of Republican recruitment for House candidates, offered a succinct explanation for why Hochul remains competitive.
“It’s because Hochul is an incumbent,” said Scalise, R-La.
The NRCC officials also expressed confidence that Maggie Brooks, the Republican county executive in Monroe County, might oust Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, in a new Rochester-based district with a Democratic voting edge.
“It’s going to be a close race,” Harrison said.
With Republicans trimming their convention back to three days for the second time in a row, and Democrats planning a three-day gathering in Charlotte next week, House Speaker John Boehner on Monday mused about the possible end of the four-day political convention.
“I think that given as much news as people get today and the way they get their news, I’m not sure that having a four-day convention, for the future, makes a lot of sense,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at a luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
“These are very expensive propositions to put on,” he added.
While trumpeting Mitt Romney’s chances against President Obama and stressing that the economy was the top issue for voters, Boehner seemed dismissive not only of the traditional four-day convention, but also of the party platforms that conventions adopt every four years.
Party platforms should be trimmed down to one page, he said.
“Anybody read a party platform?” Boehner asked. “I’ve never met anybody.”