I wrote yesterday about House Speaker John Boehner’s diss of Wendy Long when he said there’s no “significant” US Senate race in New York – a factor that could hurt down-ballot Republican congressional candidates who are fighting to retain their seats or oust incumbent Democrats.

Boehner’s comments came during his speech at the New York delegation breakfast.

The day before, the delegates heard from former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who also neglected to mention Long during his remarks. (Adding insult to injury on that one, D’Amato’s new colleague and Long’s campaign spokesman, Dave Catalfamo, of the former senator’s newly-acquired Capitol Public Strategies, was standing at the back of the room at the time).

D’Amato’s long-standing ties to Long’s opponent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are well documented. She was an intern in his Albany office when she was a college student, and he has a close relationship with her father, Doug Rutnik, who was an Albany attorney close to members of Pataki’s inner circle.

D’Amato’s connection to Gillibrand is so strong, in fact, that he was front and center on stage at the January 2009 announcement by then-Gov. David Paterson of Gillibrand’s selection to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate – much to the chagrin of Sen. Chuck Schumer, who booted D’Amato from office in 1998.

Since leaving office and entering the private sector, D’Amato has become more pragmatic in his politics. He has raised money for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Gillibrand’s former boss at HUD), and praised him during a CapTon interview last night.

I asked D’Amato about Long, and he replied:

“Wendy Long has an uphill battle. Notwithstanding that, I admire her courage. She’s out there, she’s fighting. She’s underfunded.”

“When you have an entrenched Democrat who’s has worked very hard, who’s raised the money. Wendy is an accomplished lawyer, a distinguished legal background, clerked for the second circuit, clerk to the Supreme Court.”

“That’s a tough race and that’s the point. Three million more Democrats than Republicans, unless the Democrats are very dissatisfied with the person in office, it’s very difficult.”

“…I believe that Romney needs a Republican Senate, and I certainly hope he gets it because he’s not going to be able to make the changes if you have the intransigence of the Democrats in the Senate.”

When pressed on whether he’s supporting Long, D’Amato said, rather dismissively: “Yeah, I am supporting Wendy.”