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State Political Conventions Usually Short On Drama

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The Democratic and Republican state conventions are being held this week in Buffalo and Long Island, respectively. If you are looking for the unexpected, you won't find it at a political convention. As NY1’s Michael Scotto explains in the following report, the winner is usually determined well in advance.

Twelve years ago, George Pataki began his ascent to governor. It was at the state GOP Convention in New York City that Republicans officially backed Pataki over Herbert London. The then little-known State Senator from Peekskill won the spot on the ballot thanks, in part, to the fervent support of then U.S Senator Al D'Amato.

D'Amato waged a fierce battle against State Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino, who was behind London's candidacy. The political jockeying lasted until Pataki won the support of more than 70 percent of delegates.

The year 1994 offered a rare show of drama, but usually political conventions are pre-determined, and mainly just a chance to rally around the party's pick.

In 2000, Hillary Clinton easily won the backing of Democratic Party delegates in her bid to become a U.S. Senator. The same happened at the Republican Convention, when they nominated Republican Rick Lazio.

The only drama that year was physical; the then- young Long Island Congressman showed up with a fat lip, a preview, perhaps, of the political beating he would later receive from Clinton.

In 2002, Carl McCall easily and expectedly won the Democratic Party's backing. The political excitement that year happened outside the convention hall; Andrew Cuomo held his own party to protest McCall's pre-ordained nomination.

But while an outside struggle might make for news, recent history has shown that the political convention is the place where candidates want to be, especially if they expect a shot at winning the election.

- Michael Scotto
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