Ed Cox

Cox Treads Lightly On Comey Firing

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox treaded lightly on Wednesday during a radio interview on the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Speaking with Fred Dicker on Talk-1300 this morning, Cox gave a by-the-book recitation of Comey’s firing based on the White House’s timeline.

Comey was fired Tuesday evening by President Donald Trump as the administration pointed to his handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. But the firing comes as the FBI is overseeing the investigation into alleged ties between the administration and Russia.

“There was a report that was done by the newly deputy attorney general,” Cox said. “Trump received it, he took a look at it, and said Comey has to go.”

Cox at the same time dismissed allegations that Trump’s campaign worked with Russian intelligence to interfere in the election.

“The president decided to act on it. There’s no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign,” he said.

The firing of Comey drew comparisons by some on Tuesday night to President Richard Nixon order his attorney general to fire an independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate case.

Cox is the son-in-law of the late president.

Cox Faults Cuomo’s Wind Storm Response

Republican Chairman Ed Cox in a statement on Thursday criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s response to a wind storm that left thousands without power in the region just before a major snowstorm hit.

Cuomo was knocked initially for not appearing in the area following the high winds caused damage around Rochester, though members of his administration and state representatives were on the ground. Cuomo traveled to Rochester twice last week and, over the weekend, blasted the response of the utility RG&E for not being better prepared.

But Cox said the effort to investigate utilities after a storm is part of a “tired playbook.”

“Governor Cuomo’s smoke and mirrors act is stale,” Cox said. “The fact is he was missing in action when the people of Rochester needed their governor and now he’s trying to cover his tracks. The bad news for him is that his tired playbook is being exposed for what it is, and unfortunately, this is just another example of his rudderless and mismanaged Administration.”

Cox Dismisses Flanagan For Governor Reports

Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Wednesday in a Capital Tonight interview dismissed reports Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is contemplating a run for governor in 2018.

“Let me say, he is not thinking about it,” Cox said in the interview to air tonight on TWC News. “He is focused on his job as majority leader of the state Senate — a tough job — particularly when you have a governor who for the first time in two centuries was not delivered to the legislators.”

Flanagan is reportedly discussing a statewide campaign for next year, potentially taking on Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is seeking a third term.

Cox in the interview was also complimentary of Flanagan preserving the Senate Republican conference’s relationship with the Independent Democratic Conference in the chamber to preserve the majority coalition power sharing agreement.

Cox said it was “absolutely” the right move to make in the narrowly divided chamber.

“Jeff Klein and the seven members of the IDC, they are very serious about public policy and to have them as partners in this, people who work out what’s good public policy and then go forward with that larger majority and presenting it, it makes things work,” he said.

Cox Slams de Blasio’s Endorsement Of Ellison

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Wednesday in a statement knocked Mayor Bill de Blasio’s endorsement of Rep. Keith Ellison to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In particular, Cox takes issue with Ellison’s position on Israel which he says “should be of deep concern to all Americans.”

Ellison is among a handful of Democrats vying for the top spot at the DNC and has been given the endorsement of a number of prominent New York Democrats, including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Here’s the statement:

“Mayor de Blasio’s endorsement of Keith Ellison for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee is a slap in the face to the more than one million Jews who live in New York City. Congressman Ellison’s long history of anti-Semitic leanings and anti-Israel positions are disqualifying and should be of deep concern to all Americans. Despite losing the White House, majorities in both houses of Congress, blue-state governorships, and state legislative majorities across the country, the Democratic Party continues its dramatic lurch to the far-left. It’s clear from this endorsement that Bill de Blasio is more concerned with his ambitions of becoming a national progressive figure than his relationship with one of one of New York’s largest constituencies.”

Cox: Trump Following 2018 NY Governor’s Race

From the Morning Memo:

President-elect Donald Trump is busy filling his cabinet and holding high-profile meetings at Trump Tower with all manner of visitors – including former football stars and rappers recovering from mental health breakdowns.

Apparently, however, he has still found at least a sliver of time to keep tabs on the politics of his home state, and is looking toward a possible regime change in 2018.

“He’s already called me,” state GOP Chair Ed Cox said of the president-elect. “We have talked about it, and he definitely has an interest in having a Republican governor in New York after 2018, and not Governor Cuomo.”

It would certainly benefit Trump at the state level to have a Republican ally in the executive mansion – especially in a Democrat-dominated state, where elected officials – from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the incoming Democratic minority leader, to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio – have vowed to oppose the new administration on multiple fronts.

Former Gov. George Pataki, a frequent Trump critic who harbored his own White House aspirations that were never realized, was the last Republican to hold the office, and he left at the end of 2006 after serving three, four-year terms.

Cox suggested there’s a bigger picture reason the president-elect is already looking ahead; he sees an opportunity to stop potential rivals before the next presidential election.

“The New York State Republican party has a special mission going forward,” Cox said. “If you take a look at the Democratic party without the Clintons now, they’re on the sidelines. Obviously, Governor Cuomo’s thinking about 2020, and Mayor de Blasio…is thinking about 2020.”

The GOP chairman said the party will first focus on beating de Blasio when he seeks a second term next year, even though that’s a long shot in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

The last Republican to win City Hall was Mike Bloomberg, who had switched his enrollment before his first run in 2001 from the Democratic Party to the GOP, and then later, (after he was safely in office), dropped major party affiliation altogether and became an independent.

Cox said that outside of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races, there isn’t much to draw the attention away from the New York City mayor’s race next year.

“That is going to be a national race; we expect it to attract national attention,” the chairman said. “The polls for Mayor de Blasio are not that good, and we’ve got a good shot at winning that.”

(Actually, the latest poll found that while a majority of NYC voters don’t think de Blasio deserves re-election, he’s still trouncing all of his potential rivals, and the one who comes closest to beating him is a fellow Democrat – and erstwhile primary opponent – former NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn).

Besides getting the mayor out of office and injuring a potential Democratic candidate for president, Cox said the 2017 campaign serves a third purpose – allowing the GOP to improve its standing in the five boroughs.

The chairman said he believes Cuomo was able to win re-election two years ago because his opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, only got 18 percent of the vote in New York City, though he carried almost all of upstate.

“If we build up momentum in New York City in 2017 and run a good race and defeat Mayor de Blasio, that carries over to 2018,” Cox said. “And if we do well in New York City, we win because we are going to have a tremendous victory outside of New York City. I have no doubt about that in 2018.”

Astorino is one of a handful of Republican candidates considering a run for governor in 2018. When asked about what Trump’s involvement would be in selecting, vetting or campaigning for candidates, Cox said it’s still too early to determine that.

After all, the president-elect hasn’t even served a single day of his own term yet.

Cox Likes NY GOP Chances In Future Cycles

From the Morning Memo:

A New York Republican in the White House will boon to GOP chances here in this state, a post-election report from Chairman Ed Cox concludes.

The report, released to county chairs this month, is bullish on the chances for the state party in the coming election cycles given Republican success this year.

Cox notes Republicans held all of their congressional seats while also fending off challenges from Democrats in both the 19th and 22nd congressional districts.

At the same time, Republicans in the state Senate could ultimately gain a seat in the chamber with the victory of Sen.-elect Chris Jacobs in western New York.

“Working together, we have accomplished so much, but our work is not done,” Cox wrote. “Now that we are on our way to making America great again, we are already looking toward 2017 and 2018 to defeat Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo to make New York great again, too.”

The state committee became part of the broader Donald Trump for president effort, running a direct mail campaign in key swing states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennslyvania, the latter two of which Trump won.

The work done by the party in 2016 could benefit the GOP committee further down the road, Cox wrote.

“The key relationships we have cultivated over many years of hard work will be critical to us in this effort,” the report states. “With President Trump in the White House and our deep ties to key figures in national political organizations, our network is stronger and wider than ever. Thank you for your continued friendship and support of our unwavering commitment to make our nation and New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Republicans still face steep odds in New York, given the strong Democratic enrollment advantage. No Republican has won statewide in New York since Gov. George Pataki won a third term in 2002.

Copy of Post Election Letter by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Cox: Cuomo And de Blasio Trying To Outdo Each Other, Again (Updated)

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox on Monday blasted both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s speeches outlining efforts to fight discrimination and hate crimes in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory.

In the statement, Cox said the feud between the state’s two top Democrats has morphed into an early battle for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

Over the past days, Cuomo and de Blasio have pledged to fight discrimination and bolster anti-discrimination measures in the city and state.

“What we have witnessed from both Governor Cuomo at the Abyssinian Baptist Church yesterday and Mayor de Blasio at Cooper Union this morning is a naked and unseemly fight to position themselves to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for President,” Cox said in the statement.

“These two scorpions in a bottle are each trying to outdo one another with slanderous fear-mongering hyperbole, rather than focusing on their respective jobs running New York State and New York City. Both officials need a strong working relationship with the federal government and with each suffering from low job approval ratings, they should get back to working on behalf of New York’s citizens, not their own political ambitions.”

Both Cuomo and de Blasio have been in a long-running public feud, but battling Trump is beneficial to both men who may face primary challenges in the coming elections. De Blasio, who runs for a second term in 2017, may draw a primary challenger who has the tacit backing of Cuomo.

Updated: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi responds.

“Only Ed Cox can call standing up for the rights of New Yorkers divisive,” he said. “He should really leave the country club once in a while.”

Ed Cox To Tonight’s Veep Moderator: Don’t Fact Check

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox has some advice — actually, it was termed in a warning — for tonight’s moderator of the vice presidential debate: Don’t fact check the candidates.

In a statement, Cox warned CBS reporter Elaine Quijado to avoid committing “career suicide” and refrain from fact checking the conversation in the debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, pointing to the exchange over stop-and-frisk policy between Donald Trump and Lester Holt

The exchange in question was over the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk. The non-partisan Politifact determined both Holt and Trump misspoke in the debate, but Trump was “more wrong” than Holt.

As for his career, Holt has not lost his job at NBC News as its main anchor.

“Debate moderators attempting to play the role as fact-checkers are committing career suicide,” Cox said. “Their role is consequential and they have a responsibility to the American public to ignore pressure from the Clintonistas in and around the media to influence the discussion. Americans are watching closely and their confidence in debate moderators as truly impartial must be restored.”

Debate moderators have come under a crosscurrent of pressure from journalists and politicians alike for “fact checking” the candidates in the forums. Hillary Clinton’s campaign in particular has pushed moderators to push back against Trump’s statements, while Republicans have maintained that’s an effort to sway the debate in her favor.

Trump Campaign Ramps Up In WNY

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.”

Langworthy added:

“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.”

Cox Praises Pence Pick

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.