Hundreds of republicans across New York State will be heading south this weekend, ready to take part in their party's national convention in Tampa. Despite some challenges, YNN's Bill Carey says those delegates are optimistic that the four day meeting will shake up the race for the White House.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As delegates pack their bags for Tampa, they say the nomination of Mitt Romney will offer voters the clearest choice they've had in years.
“You're either going to decide that the United States should be moving in a direction of more reliance on government or more self-reliance and allowing people to be creative. Allowing people to be, actually, be successful and create jobs by that success,” said State Senator John DeFrancisco.
But while Romney tops the ticket, Onondaga County's GOP leader says much of the enthusiasm in recent days has focused on Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as running mate.
“The party has been energized by his pick for Vice President and you can see that in the recent polls and in the polling in the swing states. And, so, it's a very exciting time,” said Thomas Dadey, GOP Convention Alternate Delegate.
There will be a lot of talk about party unity in Tampa, but republicans have faced tensions as Tea Party activists try to push their party in a more conservative direction. DeFrancisco says the media makes too much of that tug-of-war.
“You can't have a homogeneous party no matter which party it is. So I just think that that's overblown,” DeFrancisco said.
There is controversy, though, over comments on rape and abortion by a Missouri congressman running for U.S. Senate. Democrats say Todd Akin represents republican views. GOP officials have blasted Akin and called for him to drop out of the Senate race, something he refuses to do.
DeFrancisco said, “This country is on a fiscal cliff. And if we're going to worry about some, one dumb congressman, we might want to look at a couple dumb congressmen that are on the other side of the political spectrum making other foolish statements.
The political storm over the Akin remarks on rape and abortion is not the only storm that the delegates may be dealing with in the coming week. Tropical Storm Isaac, which may soon be a hurricane, is threatening the Gulf Coast.
Dadey said, “They are the most prepared of any state to deal with hurricanes, so I'm sure they have a plan in place to make sure that people's safety is paramount and we're still going to have a fun and exciting convention at the same time.”
A convention the republicans claim will put them on the path to retaking the White House.