Where Are the Future GOP Stars From New York?

10:49 AM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
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Gannett Washington Bureau

TAMPA, Fla. - If former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, his administration would draw on financiers, lawmakers and other professionals within the state to fill Cabinet posts and other prominent positions, New York Republican leaders said Monday.

With the first day of activities at the Republican National Convention postponed Monday, New York Republicans went ahead with their first delegation breakfast at a beachfront hotel in Clearwater Beach.
Later, many agreed to discuss the state of their party.

In a Romney administration, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani might be attorney general, replacing the Bronx-born Democrat who currently holds that post, Eric Holder, some suggested.

"Obviously, Rudy Giuliani would be a great attorney general, justice of the Supreme Court or secretary of Homeland Security,'' Rep. Peter King of Long Island said. "So that's just one right there. Obviously there are people from Wall Street who could serve as secretary of the Treasury. We have a lot of talent. We have more talent per square foot in New York than anywhere else. So I'm not worried about New York.''

King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, would consider taking a position in a Romney administration if he's offered one.

"If I was asked, I would strongly consider it,'' he said.

New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said the state's role as a center of finance and the media puts members of the state party in a position to play important roles in a Romney administration.

Several delegates mentioned Cox as a candidate for an administration position, considering his role in rebuilding the state party and as a fundraiser.

New York delegate Dan Senor already is a foreign policy advisor to the Romney campaign. A native of Utica who worked in Congress as an advisor to former Michigan Sen. Spencer Abraham, Senor served in Iraq as a civilian U.S. government official for more than a year. He currently works at a think tank called the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Manhattan attorney Wendy Long, a long-shot underdog candidate for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, advises the Romney campaign on legal and judicial issues and could join a new administration.

Two Republican county leaders said freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth of Westchester County also could receive a Romney administration post given the prominent role House Republican leaders have given her on policy issues and her background as a physician.

Dutchess County Republican Party Chairman Michael McCormack added freshman Rep. Chris Gibson of Kinderhook to the list.

"They are just brilliant citizen politicians,'' he said, adding that Hayworth was an early supporter of Romney's candidacy.

Other freshman members of Congress - including Rep. Tom Reed of Corning - also received mention.

"Obviously there's a wealth of talent and expertise at the county level of government,'' said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

She cited Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano as rising state-party stars whom a new administration might tap.

Of the 10 bluest states in the nation, New York is the only one where one chamber of the state legislature is controlled by the GOP, Cox told convention delegates and their guests.

State Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos told the group he expects "a great year'' in state legislative races while conceding that Long faces "a tough race'' against Gillibrand.

And there's the rub.

A Republican has not been elected to statewide office in New York since former Gov. George Pataki stepped down. And none of the speakers at this week's convention in Florida is a New Yorker except Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, who will deliver the closing benediction Thursday night.

Some New York Republicans expressed delight that Dolan - who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - will come on stage immediately after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accepts his party's presidential nomination Thursday night.

But Dolan isn't running for elected office in New York. The only higher office he might aspire to is pope.

GOP officials acknowledge the party in New York is in transition, with no brightly shining stars on a par with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who will introduce Romney on Thursday.

Michael Norris, chairman of the Niagara County Republican Committee, said that during the current period of transition "the main focus is keeping a majority in the state senate." Norris also expects former Erie County Executive Chris Collins to unseat freshman Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul, also of Erie County, in November.

James Drader, chairman of Tompkins County Republican Committee, agreed the state party is in a rebuilding mode, pointing to rising stars such as Chautauqua County Executive Gregory Edwards and state Sen. Tom O'Mara as the party's future leaders.

Some delegates and guests said Harry Wilson, who ran unsuccessfully for state comptroller in 2010, might be persuaded to run statewide again in 2014. Wilson lost to Democrat Thomas DiNapoli by 202,456 votes of the 4.34 million votes cast for the two candidates in a three-way race.

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