GOP’s RNC Committee Battle Comes To A Head
Furious politcking has been taking place at the Desmond Hotel in Colonie over the past 24 hours, as state GOP Chairman Ed Cox works to make his predecessor (three chairs removed), Bill Powers, an RNC committeeman.
Led by Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, supporters of Powers’ opponent, Thomas Belesis, founder of the NYC-based financial services company John Thomas Financial, have also been working the phones.
They say Cox is pulling out all the stops to avoid an embarrassing defeat, even going so far as to offer convention delegate slots to the RNC get-together in Tampa in exchange for a vote for the former chairman.
Belesis’ supporters say they’ve locked down about 40 percent of the weighted vote, but the situation is subject to change, depending on how much horse-trading and arm-twisting takes place over the next several hours.
This whole situation puts a lot of people in an uncomfortable position.
Powers is still widely admired within the GOP. Many rank-and-file Republicans remember how he pulled the party back from the brink and helped propel a then-little-known state senator, George Pataki, to victory against liberal icon Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994.
But a number of downstate and NYC suburban chairs – including the party’s first vice chair, Rockland’s Vinnie Reda – are backing Belesis, in part because of his financial backing of the party and its candidates. (One source estimated he has raised and contributed some $250,000 in recent years).
There’s also the issue of trying to re-energize a party that has grown stagnant by bringing in new and younger leaders to counter the NY GOP’s image as stale and outdated.
Some Belesis backers are casting this fight as a confidence vote in Cox, who they believe is renegging on a promise to give their candidate the RNC committee post.
Cox has weathered challenges to his leadership before, and he’s not in danger of losing his post at this moment. The only thing he has to lose, really, is clout and pride.
An interesting twist here is the fact that Isaacs clearly has designs on the state chairmanship.
He publicly challenged Cox’s predecessor, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello, for the position back in 2009 while others were plotting behind the scenes to take Mondello out.
Isaacs, who replaced Jennifer Saul (the NY GOP’s female RNC committee member) as Manhattan chair in February 2011, has been raising campaign cash for candidates around the state to collect chits.
Isaacs has made clear he has no plan to challenge Cox directly, but told me last December: “When the time comes that Ed Cox is no longer chairman, I don’t think it would come as any surprise to see me in the mix.”
As for today’s schedule, there is a GOP executive committee meeting at 11 a.m., and a lunch at noon. The RNC committee member vote is expected to take place this afternoon.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on May 31, 2012 at 8:42 am, and is filed under Ed Cox, Republicans, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|