Sep 15th - 6:00 am
From the Morning Memo:
This Saturday, Donald Trump volunteers in Western New York will officially open the “Trump Victory field office.”
According to Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, the office will be a volunteer nerve center to assist the campaign in getting more people involved with the GOP nominee’s bid for the White House. He said similar offices will open across the state in the near future.
“There’s investment in New York state (by the Trump campaign,” Langworthy insisted. There will continue to be a growing amount of investment in the state infrastructure. We have not seen this before. This is not something that we had with Mitt Romney.”
Langworthy, who’s part of the Trump NY leadership team, said the campaign is starting to ramp up activities, too. Last month, honorary Trump campaign co-chair Carl Paladino said there had been a request made for the candidate to make pre-general election visits to Buffalo, Albany and Nassau County.
“I think we’re going to have some level of activity by Donald Trump himself. There’s no confirmation of locations dates and times,” Langworthy said.
Langworthy hosted state GOP chairman Ed Cox in Buffalo yesterday amid speculation that the former might be gunning for the later’s political post, though there was no sign of any animosity or competition between them. Both Republican leaders tempered expectations about a potential Trump visit without closing the door to the possibility that one might yet occur.
“We would love to have him campaign here in New York,” Cox said. “He already did in our decisive primary on April 19th. He campaigned the state from one end to the other as he did when he was thinking about running for governor in 2014.”
“If we’re competitive in New York and can turn the corner in New York, well that means that probably a lot of other states are too. I mean, I’m not looking to pull his time away from the important states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.”
Neither chairman seemed to be concerned about their candidate’s poor poll numbers in New York when pitted against his fellow Empire State resident, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They continue to publicly insist he can carry the state, which no Republican presidential candidate has done since Ronald Reagan.
“He has said that he’s going to carry New York state and I believe him,” Cox said. “Given the circumstance here and my sense of it, having been part of these campaigns going way back, this is the year, the first time we could do it since 1984.”
Langworthy said his main goal is for Trump to carry Erie County. Regardless, he believes the campaign will help down-ballot candidates – a topic that has been hotly debated, especially when it comes to the re-match over control of the state Senate.
“Barack Obama carried this community with 58 percent of the vote,” Langworthy said. “He was wind in the face of our candidates. Donald Trump is not. He may not ultimately win the whole county on election night but he’s going to be much, much closer than any presidential candidate that we’ve had run in this 2-1 dark blue county in the last, probably 25 to 30 years.”
Jul 15th - 2:43 pm
While Donald Trump may be having some buyer’s remorse over his selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox is praising the deicsion.
“With the selection of Governor Pence as his vice-presidential nominee, Mr. Trump has once again demonstrated the leadership skills required to make the changes necessary to put America on the right track,” Cox said in a statement.
“Governor Pence is an accomplished executive, served in Congress in the Republican leadership and is a solid conservative. We were proud to be involved in his election to the Indiana Governorship through the RGA in 2012 and to host him at our annual New York Republican Committee Dinner in 2014. This is the winning ticket that will grow our economy, create good-paying jobs for our families and protect our nation from the growing threat of terrorism.”
Cox spoke highly of the three finalists for the VP nod on Thursday in an interview with the Capitol Pressroom, praising the credentials of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Jul 14th - 11:46 am
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Thursday downplayed expectations next week’s GOP convention in Cleveland will be a rollicking and unpredictable affair even as the party is formally expected to nominate Donald Trump, a rollicking and unpredictable candidate, for president.
“Not only am I looking forward to it, but I’m right in the middle of a group of delegates on the arena floor here,” Cox said.
In a radio interview, Cox downplayed reports the convention isn’t filling delegates and Republican operatives with dread.
“All the RNC members, whether they are delegates or not, are excited to be here,” Cox told WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom in a phone interview from Cleveland. “This may turn out to be a very straightforward.”
Cox did allow some of the scheduled speakers, including former quarterback Tim Tebow and UFC Chairman Dana White among them “may be a little different” but still fits within the Trump brand.
“That doesn’t mean they won’t be effective or mean anything really unusual happening on the convention floor,” Cox said.
Amid pressure from Trump supporters in New York, Cox endorsed the businessman’s presidential bid in the days after he won New York’s GOP presidential primary by a wide margin.
Trump’s most prominent supporter in New York, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, was previously critical of Cox for not fully embracing Trump’s campaign.
But on Thursday, Cox was effusive in his praise for Trump’s potential vice presidential running mates, a list that has been narrowed to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
On Pence, Cox said: “He was a leader in the House, he is a very successful governor of Indiana.”
Gingrich: “He is an extraordinary leader. He has run for president before, he’s thoroughly vetted.”
Christie: “Chris Christie, great leader, he’s clearly a strong executive.”
Sessions: “No one presents the case better for Donald Trump.”
Cox is due to chair the state delegation from New York during the RNC, which begins Monday.
May 31st - 1:27 pm
State Republicans on Tuesday saw a glimmer of hope when it comes to possibly recapturing the governor’s office in 2018, pointing to a Siena College poll that found nearly half of voters surveyed are prepared to back someone else over re-electing Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“While Governor Cuomo’s job approval rating has consistently remained under water with a strong majority disapproving of his performance, for the first time it has translated into a plurality of voters who are not prepared to re-elect him,” said state GOP Chairman Ed Cox.
“As the state continues to suffer under his punishing business climate, highest taxes and worst-in-the nation economic outlook, it’s no surprise voters are already looking to replace him. We are confident that as more details come to light on the Governor’s Buffalo Billion boondoggle, that dissatisfaction will grow and our next governor will be a Republican who will reform our state to create real economic growth, not just gimmicks.”
Still, a generic “someone else” doesn’t necessarily translate into votes for a generic Republican candidate, nor does it help a GOP hopeful who would still have a lot of work to do in fundraising and building statewide name recognition.
The poll also showed the majority of New York voters surveyed believe Cuomo is ethical, despite the swirling corruption investigations into economic development programs.
Republicans have not won a statewide office in New York since 2002, when then-Gov. George Pataki won a third term.
The candidate widely viewed as one of the biggest threats to Cuomo two years from now, Rep. Chris Gibson, announced he would not run for governor and take a job at Williams College.
Republicans potentially vying for the nomination include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (the party’s 2014 nominee), businessman Carl Paladino (the party’s 2010 nominee), Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and businessman Harry Wilson.
Apr 13th - 3:34 pm
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox brushed off the criticism from Donald Trump and his campaign the delegate allocation process in the presidential primary contests have been “rigged” against him.
Cox, in a radio interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, said Trump could recover after a tough time in the Colorado contest, in which Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign was able to out maneuver the New York businessman and win the lion’s share of the delegates.
“They need to have a much more extensive organization which is doing more than just mass meetings,” Cox said in the interview. “I think while there is some complaints about the system, I think there are lessons learned here and Donald Trump is going to have a better campaign for it.”
Trump’s drive toward the Republican nomination has stalled in states, like New York, that do not have a winner-take-all contest. Trump, nevertheless, appears poised to win the majority if not nearly all of New York’s 95 delegates in next week’s GOP primary.
Trump’s team has recently brought on Paul Manafort, a veteran GOP operative, to handle delegate wrangling ahead of the Republican convention, which could be one of the first contested ones in a generation.
In the interview, Cox said the situation showed Trump’s campaign it has to evolve.
“The rules have been out there for a long period of time,” Cox said. “They’re well known. You need a lot of different skills to win a general election, you need an organization to win a general election.”
At the same time, Cox laughed off any suggestion establishment Republicans would lead to Trump running an independent bid for president, which Carl Paladino on Tuesday predicted would be the end of the Republican Party.
“I think that’s a big exaggeration and there hasn’t been any indication or proof of any of that,” Cox said. “It’s part of the campaign rhetoric. The important thing is we need to have a very good general election. If Donald Trump is going to be our candidate, he needs to have a complete organization. I think that’s what Colorado pointed out to him.”
Feb 23rd - 3:39 pm
The Mario Cuomo Campaign For Economic Justice isn’t letting criticism of its RV tour from New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox stand.
Cox on Tuesday knocked the latest push Gov. Andrew Cuomo is undertaking for increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15, saying he should get out of “union halls” and instead “speak to small business owners about the crushing impact a 67% increase in the minimum wage would have on them.”
(A Siena poll in January found support for the wage increase to $15 was backed by voters, with a 65 percent of voters).
“We have the highest taxes in the nation, the least-friendly business climate and the worst economic outlook,” Cox said in a statement. “Behind the curtain of fancy ads and gimmicks funded by powerful special interests, it is plain to see that the only purpose of this radical proposal is to boost the Governor’s political agenda at the grave expense of New York’s economy.”
Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the minimum wage campaign who has worked for the state Democratic Committee, said Cox, the patrician son-in-law to former President Richard Nixon, “seems to be in line” with Trump on the issue.
“It’s no surprise that Ed Cox and his cronies are taking yet another extreme stance that’s out of step with a vast majority of New Yorkers,” Shafran said. “We believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and it’s sad that the State GOP seems to be in line with Donald Trump, who thinks wages are already too high.”
Feb 1st - 3:48 pm
The New York State Republican Committee will hold its 2016 convention in Buffalo. The convention is scheduled for March 4th and will be in one of the city’s newest buildings, HARBORCENTER, which is connected to First Niagara Center.
GOP Chairman Ed Cox will be at Erie County Republican Headquarters, Tuesday at 11 a.m., to make the announcement. The committee will name its candidate for U.S. Senate during the convention.
The party has typically held the convention downstate although in 2012 it was in Rochester when Wendy Long was selected as the candidate to run against Kirsten Gillibrand.
Jan 6th - 12:30 pm
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox isn’t concerned with the effect Donald Trump could have on down-ballot candidates as a potential general election nominee, saying the businessman will “do what it takes to win.”
“He’s a businessman, he wants to win. He will do what it takes to win,” Cox said. “If he’s our general candidate, you bet he’ll be talking about things in a different way, a more refined way, it could actually work here in New York.”
Republicans in New York running in local elections, especially in Democratic pockets, already face an uphill climb given that, historically, Democratic voters turn out in greater numbers in presidential election years.
Democrats hoping to recapture control of the state Senate are eager to have Hillary Clinton at the top of a ticket, which could further drive out Democratic votes.
Even before the general election, Senate Republicans face a likely special election to fill the seat vacated by former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted on corruption charges last month.
Cox was bullish on the chances of the Nassau County district being a Republican hold, despite the Democrats’ enthusiasm for likely candidate Todd Kaminsky, a state assemblyman and former federal prosecutor.
“I see no reason why a good Republican candidate cannot win Dean Skelos’s seat in Nassau County,” Cox said.
But the picture could get more complicated for the Senate GOP should Sen. Jack Martins run to fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Democratic Rep. Steve Israel. Martins’s district has seen some closely fought electoral contests in recent cycles.
Cox said the decision for who will run for Israel’s seat will be hope to the country chairs. The House district spans three counties.
“The county chairs are talking among themselves to decide the best candidate going forward and that’s what’s going to happen,” he said. “In the end this is a decision of our county chairs and in the past they’ve done a very good job of it.”
Jan 6th - 12:08 pm
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox berated Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday over his proposed increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, calling the governor’s claims over the need for the increase a “big lie” and politically motivated.
“This is about his political problems,l” Cox told reporters while making the rounds at the Capitol on Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session in Albany. “It’s not the $15 minimum wage, it’s not about anything that helps the economy of New York state. The jobs that it kills are the jobs of the most unskilled workers — minority workers who want to be employed, but will be unemployed because of the high minimum wage.”
Cuomo has pushed hard for the minimum wage to increase to $15 over the coming years after he took a series of executive actions that raised it for fast-food and state workers, as well SUNY employees. Cuomo has named the broader campaign to raise the wage legislatively after his late father.
Senate Republicans have raised concerns over the possibility of wage increase, but have not ruled it out entirely.
Cox declined to say whether he would call on the Senate GOP to block the wage increase.
“They are going to stand for Republican principles,” Cox said, “but at the same time they have to negotiate a lot of issues with the governor and that’s what’s going to happen and that’s the legislative process.”
Pressed on whether Republicans haven’t ruled out a minimum wage hike, Cox said individually the lawmakers have.
“A lot of them have said — a lot of the senators have said they’re against the $15 minimum wage,” he said. “Those are Republican principles and we have to see what happens in the legislative process.”
Pivoting back to Cuomo, Cox criticized the governor’s claims that minimum wage earners — many of whom work part time or multiple jobs — live in poverty. The current minimum wage for most workers in New York is $9, having increased on the first day of the year from $8.75.
“That is a big lie that minimum wage workers in New York state are living in poverty,” Cox said. “They are not. They are way above the poverty line of $24,000.”
Nov 30th - 1:16 pm
As the state prepares to overhaul the Common Core education standards and potentially reduce the impact of state testing on teacher evaluations to zero, New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox knocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for an apparent retreat on education policy.
Cuomo has battled with the state’s teachers unions, especially the New York State United Teachers umbrella group, since taking office.
The union has pushed back against Cuomo’s push to link teacher evaluation scores to standardized test results and has been critical of the governor’s support for charter schools.
But now Cuomo’s task force convened to recommend changes to Common Core testing may back a uncoupling of test results from evaluations — a twist in policy that comes after state lawmakers and the governor agreed to a revamp in teacher evaluations earlier this year.
At the same time, roughly 20 percent of students opted out of the April round of state tests in math and English-language arts.
“The union didn’t break him, he lost his will to take them on after an embarrassing Democratic primary where he was forced to rely on Mayor de Blasio to get the Working Families Party nomination,” Cox said in a statement. “Cuomo is now taking every opportunity to lurch to his left to gain favor with the Working Families Party and outflank de Blasio. New York students are once again the victims.”
Support for Common Core and stricter teacher evaluation standards that focuses on test results isn’t necessarily a partisan issue: Liberals have blasted Cuomo’s education stances as have conservatives who support more local control over education policy.
In his statement, Cox said Cuomo was choosing a political expedient route.
“It’s clear the Governor’s only priority right now is protecting his political ambitions, rather what is good for the state. Too many of our students are stuck in failing schools and Upstate’s economy is on the brink of disaster, both the result of failed liberal policies. The radical reform the Governor promised has vanished in his political winds.”