The Republicans in the State Senate are down to a three-seat majority, and most indications are that it’ll be a matter of time before they lose control altogether.
So where is the party of upstate and the suburbs choosing to make what may be its last stand?
New York City, of course!
Of the Senate Republicans’ four regional offices, only the one in New York City was running with a one-person press operation. But this month, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno hired two New York City–based assistants and is looking to bring on at least one more.
The Senate majority’s director of public affairs, Lisa Black—who was until recently the sole press staffer of the New York office—confirmed the new hires, and described the increased presence in the 250 Broadway office as an attempt to raise the profile of the four Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2008.
Despite a 5-3 partisan registration disadvantage in the five boroughs, Ms. Black pushed back firmly against the idea that she was operating in enemy territory, citing in particular the long service of veteran Senators Frank Padavan and Serphin Maltese of Queens. (The other two G.O.P. Senators in the city are Andrew Lanza of Staten Island and Marty Golden of Brooklyn.)
Ms. Black said that the new staff would be tasked with direct outreach, attending neighborhood-association meetings the party might have missed in the past and helping the city’s four Senators promote themselves with things like “teacher-appreciation” events.
There’s another benefit to the having additional help in Mr. Bruno’s New York office, which has a view of City Hall. “I can literally look out and say, ‘Oh, they’re doing a press conference there.’” And then, she said, they can respond.