4:47 pm Aug. 28, 20121
With just a few hours until the primetime opening of the Republican national convention, Rep. Peter King finds himself in a small minority.
"As far as I can tell, so far, I think I'm the only [New York] member here," he said in a brief telephone interview this afternoon. "I think. I haven't seen anybody else yet."
None of King's Republican congressional colleagues from New York held office before the big wave election in 2010, and most of them are locked in tight re-election races in newly redrawn districts. So instead of venturing down to Tampa for a couple of days of partisan partying, they're back home cultivating an air of seriousness.
In fact, though, there is at least one other House Republican there: Bob Turner, who was redistricted out of existence, after winning Anthony Weiner's old seat in Brooklyn.
Michael Grimm, running for re-election in a district in Staten Island and Brooklyn, is planning to arrive in Tampa Wednesday evening, after having canceled his trip because of the weather.
New York's convention delegation, which includes party leaders, state elected officials and some big donors, is staying at a hotel in Clearwater, Florida, alongside the delegation from Puerto Rico.
The timing of the proceedings could be unfortunate, with reports that Hurricane Isaac is barreling straight for New Orleans, but King said he thought the networks should maintain their focus on the convention.
"For the most part, I don't even see why they have to have that much of a split screen, unless something absolutely dramatic is happening," he said. "I mean we're talking about basically one hour of primetime coverage, picking the next president of the United States. I think unless the media is trying to insert itself into this--again, if something overly dramatic is happening--but I don't see how they can't allocate an hour to the national convention.
"And to me this is important. This is serious business, picking the president of the United States. Again, unless it's something horribly graphic, I think that an hour of news time can be found. This is a hard news story, covering the nomination of who might be the next president of the United States."
Tonight's big address comes from Ann Romney, who made a good impression on King when he was traveling the country on behalf of Rudy Giuliani in 2008.
"She seemed like a very nice person, in the best sense of the word 'nice,'" he said. "No staff people seemed scared of her or anything like that. If you didn't know who she was, you'd just think she was another nice person in the hotel lobby."