Updated 08/27/2012 05:17 PM
Members of NY delegation meet prior to RNC
New York hasn't voted for a republican president since Ronald Reagan. But for the state's Republican delegation, they've still got a big role at this convention. YNN's Nick Reisman has more on why they're focused on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- New York Republicans gathered in Tampa this week to promote their Congressional candidates and congratulate themselves for holding a majority in the State Senate that has produced results. But not one of the delegates suggests that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stands a chance at winning the state. A Republican hasn't won the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
“We elected more congressional people than any other state in the nation and I believe we can pick up another three to four seats this time. So it seems like on a presidential level, U.S. Senate level, we don't do that well. But that's something we have to work on,” said Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos.
One has to look back to 1995 to remember the last time the Republican Party was truly dominate in New York. At the time, the party controlled the governor's mansion, the Attorney General's office and a U.S. Senate seat, along with GOP mayor of New York City.
State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said, “That's been a problem in all the blue states. None of the blue states elected any statewide officer. This is the 10 bluest states.”
New York Republicans have historically been of the moderate variety. It was the party of Nelson Rockefeller and George Pataki. But moderates tend to be an endangered species across the country. Just ask former Congressman Rick Lazio, who lost a 2010 gubernatorial primary to tea party favorite Carl Paladino.
“Yeah, candidly, a lot of moderates on both sides of the aisle have been defeated in the polls. In ‘04, ‘06 you saw a lot of Republican moderates that were defeated. In ‘10, there were a number of Democratic moderates defeated by Republicans and the country from a political standpoint has become more polarized” Lazio said.
But party officials point to a growing New York House delegation of Republican lawmakers and an effort to build the party on the local level.
“It's strong and growing and that's what we have to continue to do. It's a year-round task for county chairs to work to build our organizations and their grassroots organizations. We are really a top-down organization,” said Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworth.