Republicans sound off on new gun laws
The state's Conservative Party met for the first day of its annual conference in Colonie. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman found that conservative advocates are upset with both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Republicans when it comes to the new gun control law.
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ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. -- While Republicans in the State Senate, outnumbered by Democrats, seek to compromise with a popular governor, Conservative Party advocates are disappointed with Andrew Cuomo's sweeping gun control law. But even Republicans who are staunch opponents of the law aren't ready to toss out the Republican leadership in the Senate.
“I'm hearing that people are unhappy about the gun control law. Most of what I'm hearing is centered on the issue, not about the leader,” said State Senator Kathy Marchione.
Marchione was warmly received by members of the state's Conservative Party. It's a small, but politically active organization that seeks to push the New York Republican Party to the right. But it's tough going in a deeply blue state. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos has had to seek compromises with six breakaway Democrats in order to retain some power in the chamber, unnerving some conservative advocates.
“I think that Senator Skelos has some severe difficulties now with having less Republicans than Democrats. I think that he worked well with the IDC. I'm new in the conference and yes, I supported him and I'm going to continue to support him in the conference,” Marchione said.
But for the most part, Conservative Party officials lay blame for the gun control law and its updated ban on assault weapons squarely on the shoulders of Cuomo, who they believe cares more about running for president than what's good for New York.
“I think there will be some blowback here because as you continue to talk about these things, even the gun control package that he's promoting, it's not going to play well on the national scene. So it may steal some headlines today, but I think it will damage some things down the road,” said Livingston County Conservative Party Chairman Jason McGuire.
And Cuomo still faces re-election in 2014. It will likely be an uphill battle for Republicans against a very popular incumbent. Congressman Chris Collins, once regarded as a potential challenger to the governor, has ruled it out.
Collins said, “My focus now is getting America right, so I can assure you that I have interest or desire in running for governor in 2014.”
Cuomo has a campaign war chest of more than $20 million heading into 2014 and an approval rating of more than 70 percent.