Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Following her victory in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Wendy Long made clear she wasn’t going to be “Democrat-light” when she takes on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Long thinks that would be a fatal error.

"I think the way we win in this state is by being a Ronald Reagan Republican, and Ronald Reagan didn't pursue some middle-of-the-road strategy," Long said. "He was a true, blue conservative, which is exactly what I am. And I think that's the way to win: Create a stark contrast. I think Republicans make a mistake when they seek to be 'Democrat light.' "

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Notably, she was introduced at the victory celebration by Michael Long, who is no relation but who heads the Conservative Party, rather than state GOP chairman Ed Cox. Long said she thought she prevailed because Republican voters "saw that I would create the sharpest contrast to Kirsten Gillibrand," whom she called the nation's "most liberal" senator.

Rep. Bob Turner was the darling of New York Republicans just a year ago when he scored an upset in a Democrat-heavy Brooklyn-Queens district to replace the disgraced U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner.

But Turner saw his district cannibalized when New York had to eliminate two congressional seats in the latest redistricting process. He decided to enter the Senate campaign -- but did so just a week before the GOP nominating convention and after Long began to line up support from dozens of Republican county committees.

Cox, however, said time wasn't Turner's issue. "He had plenty of time," Cox said. "And he ran a good race. ... But Wendy was the most eloquent candidate."

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Photo: Wendy Long, the GOP candidate who will oppose Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, campaigns in Garden City. (June 25, 2012)