Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997, initially as a staff writer for the New
Beyond promoting party slogans and messages, the New York Democrats' convention this week at the Huntington Hilton will offer a number of themes worth tracking. Here are five:
TEA-LEAF READING: Since the top nominee, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, has been hyped as a potential future national figure, the symbolism of his re-election nomination will be subject to interpretation.
Talk that former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or first lady Michelle Obama would appear was dismissed as unfounded late last week by party insiders. Regardless, speculation will likely abound on the meaning of various dignitaries' presence or absence.
LABOR: At a recent Suffolk Democratic dinner in Holbrook where Cuomo appeared, an ally of his pointed to the presence of several private-sector unions that bought tables and seats. Outside, members of the New York State United Teachers and others protested his education and evaluation policies and planned to turn up at the convention. Cuomo has since met with NYSUT leaders but has clashed over his term with other public-employee unions.
INTERNAL DEBATE: While some state committee members support rejection of Independence Party endorsements by Democratic candidates, and will push for party resolutions to that effect, others seek to prod members of the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference to return to the party's regular caucus -- and thus reduce Republican clout in that house. Dissenters usually promote their own government-policy resolutions as well.
PLAYING DEFENSE: At last week's state GOP convention in Westchester, party chairman Edward Cox assailed "political fraud and fiction" in the Democratic-dominated state and declared that "status Cuomo continues" -- including a failure to slash pension costs, promote job-training and allow fracking upstate. Cuomo and other candidates will undoubtedly respond with claims of significant progress on several fronts in the past four years and further slaps against the political right, looking to alternatively ignore or negatively define GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and his ticket mates.
TICKET TIME: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will also be nominated (along with a new candidate for lieutenant governor to replace incumbent Robert J. Duffy, who's taken himself off the ticket). These less-recognized candidates too look to defend their individual records.