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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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GOP Convention Looms

Before a major game against a longtime rival, players usually try to say all the right things in front of the media.  The twin goals: lower expectations, and avert the appearance of an incendiary article that can enrage an opponent by appearing on their locker room wall.

The New York Times published a front page story last Saturday (‘A TV Cook’s Next Serving? Cuomo Family Style’) that was not at first glance planted by attorney general Andrew Cuomo’s press office, or the TV Cook who has been his companion for the past five years, according to the story.  In case you missed the Times piece, the attorney general and the TV Cook are wildly accomplished, and great with kids, too.  Alas, the TV Cook has one critic, although it happens to be a lonely blogger who won’t even sign his or her name to their opinion, the Times tells us.

“In Albany, which is not known for its cuisine or its social scene, the most anticipated question about [the TV Cook] is whether she will move into the governor’s mansion and usher in a golden age of dinner parties and cocktail hours,” The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, breathlessly wrote.

Andrew Cuomo is our next governor, some at the Times have seemingly decided.  How can a candidate with a 30-plus percentage point lead in May’s polls possibly lose a contest that’s being held in November?  With the election’s outcome no longer in doubt in the Times’ newsroom, it is time to get onto more important matters, like will those two crazy kids ever get married and how awesome would she be as a stepmother?

Articles such as the one I’ve described ought to be posted on the walls of Republican county committee offices to motivate state committee members attending the New York State Republican convention.  The three-day gathering will be held between June 1 and June 3 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in mid-town Manhattan.

The GOP is convening next month to assess support among the county chairs and the state committee members for the gubernatorial campaigns of former Suffolk County Congressman Rick Lazio, Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, and Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino.  Votes will also be taken for the balance of the statewide ticket: lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller.  Numerous Republican U.S. Senate candidates are also lining up to take on the two Democratic incumbents.

The gubernatorial floor fight will provide the most drama.  Lazio, as a registered Republican, only needs to secure 25 percent of the weighted convention vote to secure a place on the Republican primary ballot in September.  The bar is higher for Levy, who needs to get 51 percent of that same convention vote because the Suffolk County executive remains on paper a registered Democrat, despite his party switch, until after 2010’s general election.  Paladino, a registered Republican like Lazio, needs just 25 percent to win a spot on the ballot in September’s primary contest, and already has the support of his home county, Erie, which accounts for almost 7 percent of the total statewide vote.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: