Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas was recently interviewed for a Democrat and Chronicle article about Mitt Romney naming Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. as his vice presidential selection. Noting the selection may do more to harm than help local Republicans, the article paraphrases Lucas:
“Upstate New York may lean toward the GOP, but overall the Republicans here aren’t the ultraconservative type that align themselves with the tea party. Instead, they’re more moderate, said DeWayne Lucas, a political science professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.”
“This was an interesting choice for Romney because it solidifies him for the Republican base, it intensifies the conservative roots of the Republican Party, in opposition to the more moderate leans of the district,” Lucas is quoted, adding “The down-ticket effect may be hard on local candidates.”
A member of the faculty since 2000, Lucas holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from State University at Binghamton.
The full article from the Democrat and Chronicle follows.
Democrat and Chronicle
Paul Ryan selection an issue in New York House races
Jessica Alaimo and Brian Tumulty • Staff writers • August 11, 2012
Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection may hurt Rochester-area Republicans, political experts say.
Upstate New York may lean toward the GOP, but overall the Republicans here aren’t the ultraconservative type that align themselves with the tea party. Instead, they’re more moderate, said DeWayne Lucas, a political science professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.
“This was an interesting choice for Romney because it solidifies him for the Republican base, it intensifies the conservative roots of the Republican Party, in opposition to the more moderate leans of the district,” Lucas said.
“The down-ticket effect may be hard on local candidates,” he added.
Within minutes of Romney’s announcement that House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would be his running mate, Democratic Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, and Kathy Hochul, D-Amherst, Erie County, came out swinging.
Slaughter issued a press release at 8:59 a.m., one minute before the official announcement. Hochul’s came out at 9:17 a.m. Both linked their opponents to Ryan’s controversial budget plan that cuts Medicare.
Slaughter is running against Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, R-Webster, and Hochul is running against former Erie County executive Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County.
Their responses weren’t as immediate, but both congratulated Ryan and his commitment to fiscal reform, and affirmed that they do not support Medicare cuts.
The Washington Post called congressional Democrats a “winner” in the VP pick. “By putting Ryan on the ticket, Romney has handed House and Senate Democrats a golden opportunity to make downballot races a referendum on his budget proposal,” wrote Chris Cilizza. And, they have some evidence that strategy can pay dividends in swing seats; this spring (Hochul) won an upstate New York swing district running primarily on her opposition to the Ryan plan.”
Curt Smith, a local political commentator and former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, said, “I am stunningly unimpressed with the Ryan selection. In a year which the economy is terrible, and the election should be about Barack Obama, Romney has made the election a referendum on the Ryan budget.”
Further, people in upstate New York don’t know Paul Ryan. “They will become very acquainted with the caricature of Paul Ryan (painted by the Democrats), it’s very dangerous for the party,” Smith said.
Joe Morelle, local assemblyman and chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, said: “I think this helps the Democrats. … I think it’s easier to make the case that the Republican Party is the party of extremism.”
Morelle thought Romney would pick a moderate, someone from a key swing state, or someone from an ethnic group. “Paul Ryan was never elected statewide, no one is certain of his vote-getting ability,” Morelle said.
However, Bill Reilich, local assemblyman and chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, said the vice president doesn’t often get to dictate policy, but what the choice does do is affirm Romney’s stance on economics and budget cuts.
“Together, the Romney/Ryan team will be a winning combination of Republican values against the tax and spend policies of the Obama Administration,” Reilich said.
He added: “Having Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan at the top of the Republican ticket to defeat Barack Obama will excite our Republican base and help get out the vote on November 6th.”
New York’s Republicans in Congress supported the Ryan budget last year and only one didn’t vote for it this year.
A few Republicans – including Rep. Tom Reed of Corning – voted for both the Ryan plan and a bipartisan budget proposal for deficit reduction co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio. Reed, however, has said he prefers the Ryan plan. His Democratic opponent is Tompkins County Legislator Nate Shinagawa.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a series of statements Saturday linking various Republican congressional candidates to Ryan’s budget proposal, including freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth of Bedford, Westchester County.
Hayworth is in a tossup race against Democratic attorney Sean Maloney.
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox commended Romney on the selection of Ryan.
“Congressman Ryan’s legislative experience compliments Gov. Romney’s business acumen and executive experience, creating a team uniquely qualified to lead us back from the brink of economic disaster brought about by three and a half years of failed economic policy under President Obama,” Cox stated. “Americans cannot afford four more years of out-of-control government spending, high taxes, and job killing regulations.”