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Democrats Present United Front On Eve Of State Convention

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This week's state political conventions are bound to attract a lot of national attention, with several high profile candidates vying for their party's nominations.

The Democrats seem to have the upper hand going into their convention, held Tuesday and Wednesday in Buffalo.

The party will nominate Hillary Clinton as its Senate candidate, a possible prelude to a presidential run in two years.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is the Democrats’ pick for governor.

There's less certainty across the aisle about who will be the Republican frontrunners, as the party selects its candidates Wednesday and Thursday on Long Island. That’s a change from the warm endorsement Governor George Pataki received at the last GOP Convention.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is trying to paint his opponent for governor, John Faso, as too conservative for New York voters.

"Where woman's health issues are involved, counseling for rape victims, teaching about the history of great human tragedies such as the Irish potato famine, the Holocaust, I probably would've cast those votes a different way," Weld said last week.

“It's a silly accusation and a gross distortion of my record. You'd expect that from a candidate who is getting worried,” countered Faso.

Faso, a former State Assembly minority leader, and Weld will go head-to-head in a Republican primary in September. Recent polls have given Faso a slight edge.

For the most complete coverage of the state Democratic and Republican conventions, tune in to NY1 throughout the day this week. And be sure to catch “Inside City Hall” every night at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. for the most in-depth, up-to-date political news and analysis.



NY1’s Sandra Endo is in Buffalo for the convention, and she filed this report.

Democrats are taking over Buffalo. Campaigns are prepping, and candidates are primping. The signs are everywhere — state Democrats are revved up.

There are party favorites at this year's state convention. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is running for governor. Underdog Tom Suozzi is planning to stir things up with a rally outside the convention on the day of Spitzer’s speech.

Senator Hillary Clinton is also a favorite for her second term.

Democrats say the party's appeal is statewide.

“We can do well throughout the state, and we’re coming up here to talk to the people,” said State Democratic Party Chairman Herman “Denny” Farrell. “There’s a lot of problems up in the upper regions of the state — lack of jobs under the Pataki administration — and we’re going to let people know that we’re going to do something to help solve their problems.”

Now the selection process begins: Wo will be on the September 12th primary ballot? Candidates need to get 51 percent of the vote to become the party's designee, 25 percent to get on the ballot. If they don't, the hardest, most expensive and time-consuming way is to petition for thousands of signatures across the state.

The uncertain race is for state attorney general, where five candidates are battling it out for a spot.

Overall, the party is avoiding any nasty infighting, a strategy to be stronger come November's general election.

“At the end of the day you will see a united Democratic Party, because we understand that it's important to take this state back,” said Bronx Democratic Chairman Jose Rivera.

- Sandra Endo

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