Romney offers another not-gentle reminder that he is New York’s establishment guy

Mitt Romney. (mittromney.com)
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This morning, Mitt Romney's campaign sent a press release listing 45 New York-based supporters, including current and former congressmen, county executives, county chairs, members of the State Assembly and even some former aides to George Pataki and Al D'Amato.

There didn't seem to be any immediate reason for the list—the top two names, Nan Hayworth and Michael Grimm were announced by the campaign weeks ago—except, perhaps, to remind everyone that Romney, in contrast to his rivals, has lots of institutional support.

Two weeks ago, he rolled out a similar list filled exclusively with Republican members of the New York State Assembly.

There was one name conspicuous in its absence from Romney's latest list: Representative Peter King of Long Island.

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Despite being an outspoken critic of Newt Gingrich, with whom he served in the House, King has yet to endorse Romney officially. When I talked to him last night, before the list was sent, he cautioned the Romney campaign against overplaying the establishment-candidate angle.

"If I had one criticism to make about the way Romney's people are handling it, and I'm not part of their operation: it seems heavy-handed at times," he said. "It does seem like the establishment lining up against Gingrich. And he's a pretty good rope-a-dope guy, at least in the short term.

"I think they should be careful not to make it look like the establishment ganging up on [Gingrich]. His line is going to be 'yeah sure they're against me, because I'm the one who made the tough decisions, I'm the one who changed Washington,' and all that stuff."

Romney's camp has been attacking his closest rival Gingrich, as an "unreliable leader" and risky standard-bearer for next year's election, playing on already-existing fears that he presents particular problems for Republicans in Democratic-leaning regions.

Here's the list of names, from the release:

· Congressman Michael Grimm
· Congresswoman Nan Hayworth
· Former Congresswoman Sue Kelly
· Former Congressman Rick Lazio
· Former Congressman Guy Molinari
· Former Congresswoman Susan Molinari
· Former Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue
· Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards
· Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano
· Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef
· Dutchess County Executive Elect Marc Molinaro
· Former Chemung County Executive Tom Tranter
· Allegany County Sheriff Rick Whitney
· Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian Anderson
· Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard
· Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith
· Allegany County Attorney Keith Slep
· New York City Councilor Eric Ulrich
· Former Assemby Minority Leader/ Candidate for Governor John Faso
· Former Deputy Secretary of State and Assemblyman John Hasper
· Former Assemblyman Jack Quinn III
· Former Chairman of the New York Port Authority and Power Authority Joseph Seymour
· State Party Executive Vice-Chairman Vinnie Reda
· Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy
· Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello
· Suffolk County GOP Chairman John Lavalle
· Albany County GOP Chairman Don Clarey
· Allegany County GOP Chairman Robert Christman
· Chautauqua County GOP Chairman Allan Hendrickson
· Clinton County GOP Chairman Don Lee
· Dutchess County GOP Chairman Mike McCormick
· Jefferson County GOP Chairman Donald Coon
· Niagra County GOP Chairman Michael Norris
· Schohaire County GOP Chairman Lewis Wilson
· Wayne County GOP Chairman Dan Olson
· Former Erie County GOP Chairman Jim Domagalski
· Former Erie County GOP Chairman Robert Davis
· Former Niagra County GOP Chairman Henry Wojtaszek
· Former Steunben County GOP Chairman Bill Hatch
· Romney New York State Director Rob Cole
· Former Chief of Staff to Governor George Pataki John Cahill
· Former Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor George Pataki Tom Doherty
· Former Communications Director to Governor George Pataki Mike Mckeon
· Former Political Director to Senator Al D'Amato Kraig Siracuse
· Conservative Party Committeewoman Laura Schreiner