Republicans Nominate Candidates on First Day of Convention

By Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone
Dave Paone covers New York City.
February 28, 2022Updated: March 1, 2022

GARDEN CITY, New York—The New York state Republican Party nominated Paul Rodriguez for comptroller, Michael Henry for attorney general, and Joseph Pinion III for U.S. senator on Feb. 28, the first day of its two-day convention at the Garden City Hotel on Long Island.

The morning was kicked off by newly elected Nassau County Executive, Bruce Blakeman, who said it was time “to stop the decay and destruction of our beloved state.”

“High taxes are driving people out of New York in record numbers,” Blakeman said. “Cashless bail is creating a pandemic of criminality throughout every community in New York state.”

Both sentiments were echoed by several other speakers.

At one point or another, all of them hit additional topics from the GOP agenda, including the Democrat-initiated high taxes, lack of police support, and inflation.

Speaker after speaker lambasted Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democrat they’re looking to unseat.

One mention of Schumer was followed by boos from the delegates.

Throughout the day, potshots were also taken at Gov. Kathy Hochul, and when it came time to nominate an attorney general, it was Letitia James’ turn.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel addressed the convention in a short, prerecorded video where she spoke of “the great Republican comeback.”

Former New York governor George Pataki, the most recent Republican to hold the office, spoke briefly.

GOP women who hold office wore either a red dress or a red blazer, representing the party’s color.

When Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly quipped, “I apologize because no one sent me the memo that we should be in red,” Nassau GOP chairman Joe Cairo removed his red tie and draped it over her shoulders, to the delight of the delegates.

Rodriguez said he wants to make New York “more tax-payer and business-friendly.”

Epoch Times Photo
Former New York governor George Pataki addresses the delegates at the New York state Republican convention in Garden City, New York, on Feb. 28, 2022. (Dave Paone/The Epoch Times)

Alex Meci and Pinion were the two hopefuls for the senate nomination. Meci spoke of his native Albania where, at 15 years old, he risked his life organizing an uprising with other teens against its communist government.

Pinion was an anchor and a political commentator on the cable news channel, Newsmax.

“When I told my mother I was quitting my job to run for public office after she was done crying, she asked me why. And I said, ′Mom, there are some things in life worse than not having your own TV show. It’s called not having a country.′”

Pinion feels he can unseat Schumer in November. “The one thing we have going for us is Chuck Schumer can no longer hide,” he told The Epoch Times.

“He has people all across this nation. We know what he does in the name of New Yorkers affects every single one of them.”

There was a motion and a speech to nominate John Sarcone for attorney general, followed by a second to the motion, also followed by a speech. A third speech was given by Sarcone.

However, at the end of his speech, Sarcone declined the nomination.

“I don’t want to split, right? I’m either going to be the nominee 100 percent or not,” he told The Epoch Times minutes later. “I have a good life.”

Since Sarcone had dropped out, the nomination went to Michael Henry.

With the exception of hotel staff and a few reporters, no one wore a mask.

There was a strong law enforcement presence with uniformed officers from the Garden City and Nassau County police departments, a detail from the Nassau County Bureau of Special Operations (a tactical unit), and plain-clothed detectives from the NCPD.

Congressman Lee Zeldin is expected to be nominated for governor on March 1.