While the main objective of the convention is the presidential election, the huge gathering is also about helping other members of the party get ahead. New York politicians have turned out in droves to do just that. Our Nick Reisman reports on the impressive roster from the Empire State.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New York's delegation is among the largest of any state at the Democratic National Convention. And it's certainly the most high profile. New Yorkers can count former President Bill Clinton, along with two U.S. senators and the state attorney general on the list of convention goers.
“We are so very proud of all of our people and we have the high-profile ones and some that are not so high profile. But certainly our high-profile Democrats i.e. Bill Clinton, i.e. Hillary Clinton and on down the line will be part of the effort and the team to energize our grassroots folks,” said Democratic Party Co-Chairman Keith Wright.
It's especially striking compared to New York Republicans, whose daily breakfasts in Tampa featured former elected officials like George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani. But Democrats in Charlotte say their delegation reflects the state's diversity.
Democratic Party Co-Chairwoman Stephanie Miner said, “We have so many congressional seats and we are so proud of our delegation. We have young people, we have a diverse delegation, people of all colors, of all nationalities, we have gay, straight. So this is a tremendously diverse state represented by a tremendously diverse delegation.”
A review of the list of New York delegates reveals donors to President Obama, New York elected officials and local party leaders. And it's also large. With guests and alternates included, there are more than 500 New York Democrats staying at three hotels in North Carolina and a spillover hotel over the border in South Carolina.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Having been a delegate at the last two conventions and coming to this one, there are many more people from New York at this one. I'm not exactly certain why, other than they want to help ensure the re-election of the president and that's why we're basically down here.”
Perhaps the highest profile New York Democrat isn't taking much of a role. Governor Andrew Cuomo is only flying down for one day, Thursday, and is scheduled to host a luncheon. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, on the other hand, has a busy schedule that includes an appearance on Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” and at the Iowa delegation breakfast.
“It'll be fun. I think I'm just going to talk a little about the work I'm going to be doing in the Senate and things that I care about, but I think it's pretty casual,” Gillibrand said.