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Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Encourages Democrats To Avoid DNC Convention

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New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gave a pass to legislators who elect to skip the Democratic National Convention.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gave a pass to legislators who elect to skip the Democratic National Convention.

The Democratic speaker of the New York state Assembly on Tuesday gave a pass to members of his conference who are part of the growing number of Democratic officials declining to attend the Democratic National Convention in September.

"There are a number of members who have primary elections, which will take place a week after the Democratic convention,” Speaker Sheldon Silver told, Capital Tonight, a New York state political news show and blog. “So it would be my recommendation that they stay home and, you know, tell the public what they’ve been doing in Albany for two years.

New York's state and local primary will occur on Sept. 13.

Silver did not specify which members of his 100-member caucus he was saying should not attend the convention. Democrats have held the majority in the 150-member Assembly for more than three decades and regained the 100-seat mark -- the number which allows the Assembly caucus to override a gubernatorial veto -- during a special election earlier this year. Silver, who will receive a leadership award from the National Conference of State Legislatures next month, has been speaker since 1995.

New York U.S. Reps. Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens, who are facing tough reelection battles, are among the national Democrats who have publicly declined to attend the convention. Other Democrats not attending including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.).

Silver's recommendation comes on top of similar advice from Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to national Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also advised congressional Democrats to stay home from the convention.

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