Ed Cox

Trump Wants A Clear Path To GOP Nomination Now

Donald Trump told an enthusiastic Western New York crowd Friday night that he’s leaving the door open to a possible run for governor. 

But, given the conditions he has laid out for the state Repiblican Party, it appears that door is closing quickly.

Trump was the featured guest at a fundraising dinner for the Erie County Republican Committee in Depew. With state GOP Chairman Ed Cox sitting in the audience, Trump took the podium and criticized him.

“You need strong leadership and honestly you don’t have that strong leadership right now. You don’t have that at the top, top level,” Trump said. 

Trump has made it clear he wants no part of a potential GOP primary with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. 

Before Trump’s 757 even touched down he told Bob McCarthy of the Buffalo News if Astorino doesn’t bow out soon he’ll move on

Trump supporters, including Buffalo Businessman Carl Paladino, had been calling on Cox to pressure all the potential candidates to get behind whoever emerges from the convention. 

For Trump it now appears that’s not good enough.   

“I want to see a unified party. You see the kind of response we have today. I want to see a unified party. If we have a unified party I will do it,” said Trump.

Trump did spend most of his 30 minute speech critiquing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership. Trump called New York the highest taxed and most anti-business state in the union. 

The real estate mogul-turned reality TV star said that if he’s elected he would support hydrofracking and Second Amendment rights.

“They want to take away your guns with the SAFE Act which I call the UnSAFE Act, which is one of the great catastrophes,” said Trump.

Despite the “Buffalo Billion” and a clear focus on Western New York in his first term, Trump accused Cuomo of only paying attention to the region around election time. He described most of the planned development as promises that won’t be kept.

“Buffalo is suffering badly. It’s failing. It’s not going to be here for very long and Buffalois really emblematic of what’s wrong with the state,” Trump added.

Despite Trump’s ultimatum for a clear path to the GOP nomination the state party chair seemed unfazed. 

Cox told the Buffalo News after Trump’s speech that the party has two good candidates.

Trump: ‘I’m The Only One That Can Win’

On the eve of his much anticipated visit to Western New York potential gubernatorial candidate Donald Trump continued to pressure state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to get behind him, or get out of his way.

Trump told WBEN’s Tom Bauerle Thursday Night that a Republican Primary would only work in Governor Cuomo’s favor.

“I do believe I’m the only one that can win. I believe I will win, but they’ve got to get behind me. I don’t want to fight someone who has no chance of winning and then get the nomination and you’re wounded. Because it’s going to be a very tough election,” Trump said.

Trump will appear at a sold out fundraiser for the Erie County Republican Committee Friday Night in Depew. Western New York has become a priority for any potential GOP contender.

It’s where Buffalo Businessman Carl Paladino launched a successful challenge to the party endorsed gubernatorial candidate in 2010.  Paladino fell to Cuomo in the general election.

“He was hurt badly by the lack of cohesion and by Ed Cox and all these characters are doing things up there,” said Trump.

Trump believes history is repeating itself.   

“How would you like to be running as a Carl Paladino, and you have a chairman – the head of the party – who tries to draft a Democrat, who tries to take someone from another party and pit them against you? And I thought that was so terrible and essentially the same thing is happening right now,” Trump said.

The Western New York Republicans that hatched the “Draft Trump” movement are calling on Cox to call on all interested parties to abide by the choice of the convention. 

Trump didn’t mention Astorino specifically but implied there are those more interested in raising their profile than defeating Governor Cuomo.

“What I don’t want is to go through a primary with people who have no chance of winning, that maybe want to build themselves up.  If they want to build themselves up that’s fine.  Good luck to them.  But they’re not going to win,” said Trump

Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy is expecting more than 600 people for Friday’s reception. 

Langworthy, who hosted Astorino in Buffalo in December, admits Trump’s celebrity status gives this event a different feel.

“It’s created a tremendous amount of buzz here inWestern New York.   A lot of people are talking about this event and you don’t run into anyone who doesn’t know the name Donald Trump,” Langworthy said.

It’s a buzz that Trump hopes sends a clear message to Cox and Astorino.

“I won’t use names but if he (Langworthy) had the same kind of event for someone else, or some other people, there would be no one there.  It would be like death,” Trump added.

Paladino Calls On Cox To Let the Convention Decide It

Just days after a two hour dinner meeting with Donald Trump inNew York City, Buffalo business man and 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is giving State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox a new ultimatum. 

Paladino has been pressuring Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to step aside and unite behind the only man he thinks can beat Andrew Cuomo, Donald Trump.  Paladino believes he’s responsible for what he described as Cox’s sudden change of heart on Trump.

“For two months he’s been endorsing Astorino, saying, ‘He’s running. He’s running. He’s running.’ He’s been endorsing him. Now he’s stepping back from his comments. Good for him,” Paladino said. 

Paladino was one of a handful of Upstate Republicans who took part in a two hour dinner meeting with Trump earlier this week. Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy and the two men who came up with the idea to “draft Trump,” State Assemblymen Bill Nojay and David DiPietro were also there. 

“We had a very enjoyable dinner and I’m very hopeful that we might have a candidate for the Republican Party,” Paladino said. 

Trump has recently said he would run but not if he has to take part in a primary. Despite sounding more open to a possible Trump candidacy, Cox has made it clear he has no intention of throwing his support behind any candidate before the convention.

Wednesday night, Paladino told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen, if Cox won’t clear the way for Trump, he should ask every potential candidate to unite behind the Republican who emerges at the convention.

“And once that candidate is chosen, the other candidates should lay down and go home peacefully. That will bring about party unity and by that time I think most of the RINO’s will have gone and backed Cuomo as they’ve been doing,” Paladino added. 

Speaking of those Paladino considers Republicans In Name Only, he continued to criticize the State Senate’s top Republican, Dean Skelos. Paladino believes the outcome of the convention may cause Skelos to endorse Governor Cuomo.

“All his godfathers are backing Cuomo. That’s interesting isn’t it?  Even the county executive of his home county is backing Cuomo,” Paladino added.

Cuomo and the GOP

He didn’t want to talk about it on the record, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying win over Republicans and made his pitch behind closed doors at The Harvard Club in Manhattan Thursday. What’s that Japanese word that means not only disaster, but also opportunity??? Might be appropriate here ( assuming any of us spoke Japanese ). Republicans appear fractious at the moment, and that gives the governor an in.

But sources say this was not an isolated incident. For more than a year the governor has been trying to avoid a serious challenge from the GOP in his re-election bid. Cuomo has personally been reaching out to prominent GOP donors and potential Republican candidate Rob Astorino to discourage them from mounting a challenge. He has even asked Republican state Chairman Ed Cox for a sit-down, and has gone so far as to promise Republicans to help keep the Senate under Republican control.

He does not want the Westchester County executive in the race, and has made no secret of this to the GOP privately.

Since he is a sitting governor, Cuomo has found some receptivity to his overtures. Meaning they will listen. But when it comes time to actually acquiesce, the Republicans must decline. Even with a promise to help maintain control of the Senate, Republicans fear their seats in the upper house will be in more jeopardy if they don’t have someone strong at the top of the ticket.

Needless to say, sources say the governor doesn’t like this answer. One even described him as having a “glass jaw.”

Yesterday, Cox told me on the record that Cuomo and his people were being “bullies” in trying to get Republicans and local electeds to stand down and back him for re-election. Privately, others say Cuomo holds events around the state so he can sprinkle goodies on the locals and expects Republican leaders to attend.

A source close to the governor calls all of this “completely untrue.”

But the bottom line is this: Cuomo has plenty of money – more than $33 million in the war chest. But he doesn’t necessarily want to spend it, and would prefer to avoid a competitive race, according to those familiar with his efforts to woo Republicans. As one insider put it,

“He is trying to intimidate people in New York State. Similar to the guy across the Hudson.”

Paladino: I Gave Cox the ‘Pushback’ He Deserved

After a week of pressure, it appears, at least to Carl Paladino, that State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox is coming around on Donald Trump.  The outspoken Buffalo Businessman told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen Thursday Night his recent memo is partly responsible for Cox’s perceived change of heart on Trump’s gubernatorial candidacy.

“He’s (Cox) changed his attitude right away.  He tried to block Donald Trump.  He obviously did with his activities with reference to that meeting that was held in New York. And he deserved a pushback on it and I gave him the pushback,” Paladino said.

Cox was noticeably absent from last week’s second “recruitment” meeting with Trump that included Republican officials from across the state.  Cox has also appeared to be promoting the candidacy of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino exclusively. 

When reached by phone, Thursday Night, Cox seemed neutral.

“We have two very good candidates here who offer different things to lead our ticket in 2014,” said Cox.

Cox said he has since spoken with Paladino about the memo and cleared the air.

“Carl and I had a good discussion about that and I think he has retracted that at least privately,” said Cox.

When asked about a scheduled Trump visit to Western New York to headline a fundraising Dinner near Buffalo at the end of the month, Cox was again very positive.

“We are very happy that Mr. Trump has started to move around the state and meet Republicans,” Cox said.

Trump told Fred Dicker this week there’s now a “50-50” chance he’ll run but wants no part of a GOP Primary with Astorino.  While Cox sounded more positive about Trump’s candidacy he hinted a primary might be a good thing.

“Two very strong candidates, both of whom look like they are going to run for the designation of our party, I think is a very positive sign,” said Cox.

Paladino, like Trump, has no patience for a primary.  He thinks it’s time for the party brass and Astorino to get behind the real estate mogul.

“Rob’s (Astorino) a high quality guy.  There’s no question about it.  He does not have name recognition and he does not have money.  I think Rob would be a wonderful candidate to be the Lieutenant Governor,” Paladino said. 

Paladino has still not ruled out another run for Governor on the Conservative line if the GOP doesn’t nominate a candidate who will call for a change in Republican Leadership in the State Legislature.

“I don’t think Trump will think twice about doing that,” Paladino said.

Paladino showed he has no pressure turning up the heat on Trump.  The 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Candidate said if Trump is serious about running it’s time to prove it.

“I don’t think he should wait until February.  I think Mr. Trump, out of courtesy to the people that are supporting him, at this point should tell us if he’s going to run,” Paladino added.


Paladino Accuses Cox Of Trying To Undermine Trump Candidacy

Buffalo Businessman, and 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, Carl Paladino is attacking New York State Republican Party Chair Ed Cox.  Paladino accused him of trying to block a Donald Trump run for governor.

In a memo sent to the media and supporters, Paladino criticized Cox for not attending a meeting last week with Trump and several GOP leaders from across the state.  The group, led by Western New York Assemblymen Bill Nojay and David DiPietro, has been trying to convince the real estate mogul to challenge Governor Cuomo.

Cox has been an outspoken supporter of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.  Astorino has not officially announced a run for governor but was, until Trump’s name came up, considered to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

Paladino wrote that Cox is now contributing to what he’s calling the problems in New York State.

“Once a chairman who thought first about the Republican Party, he is now trying to go down in history as the Republican who ran off Donald Trump.  We are defined by the decisions we make.”

Trump told Fred Dicker Tuesday he’s now seriously considering a run, but would only do so behind a united Republican Party.

Trump cancelled a scheduled appearance at a fundraiser Tuesday Night in Albany.  It was an event Cox was also scheduled to be at.

Political Consultant Michael Caputo said he cancelled when he found out the event was designed to be a tribute to Rob Astorino.

Cox Says He Hasn’t Talked To Trump

Republican Chairman Ed Cox says he hasn’t spoken to Donald Trump about a potential run for governor, though in an interview he continued to praise him for being “an astute observer” of the political scene.

“No, he hasn’t contacted me,” Cox said.

In an interview with Phil Reisman of The Journal News (who, disclosure, is my father), Cox said he hadn’t contact with the real-estate mogul, who emerged from a meeting with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday not dispelling any word he’s interested in running for governor next year against Andrew Cuomo.

A Republican official told Capital that a Trump aide initially reached out to state GOP officials about running for governor.

After the chairman made some demands involving putting Trump’s assets in a blind trust and dumping a few million into a campaign account, which Trump did not follow through on, Capital reported.

Cox was also asked to attend the meeting on Wednesday in New York City, but declined.

Instead, Cox said in the interview he would meet on Thursday with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a potential candidate for governor who has not determined if he’ll run next year.

As for Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino and his potential candidacy on the Conservative Party line, Cox offered this compliment: “He’s doing a great job out in western New York.”

State GOP Unveils Jobs Plan

The state Republican Party on Monday unveiled a lengthy jobs platform that proposes a variety of cuts to property, estate and capital gains taxes as well as support for hydrofracking.

The jobs agenda from the state Republicans comes as the GOP is publicly trying to woo Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to run for governor against Demcorat Andrew Cuomo next year.

“Governor Cuomo has failed,” Chairman Ed Cox said in a statement. “Instead of seriously addressing jobs and economic growth, Andrew Cuomo has spent the last three years pandering to his Democratic base. In so doing, he has only managed the decline of New York as a center of global commerce.”

Cox has been opening up a new front on Cuomo’s hydrofracking stance for the last several weeks, accusing him of delaying the process in what is a third-rail in New York politics.

The state Democratic Committee, in turn, has accused Cox of pushing the fracking issue because of his ties to the natural gas industry, with some lawmakers, including IDC Leader Jeff Klein, to call for an investigation of the financial relationship with Noble Energy.

And the platform was quickly met with criticism from the environmental community as well.

“Ed Cox is simply a paid-for mouthpiece of the oil and gas industry,” said the group New Yorkers Against Fracking. “A study by independent economists last week found that fracking job claims were exaggerated in states that have allowed fracking while a major newspaper found that in the supposed boom towns of the Plains states, fracking has brought a dramatic increase in crime. The Southern Tier needs jobs, not a dangerous, toxic industry that will bring a few jobs for out-of-state residents while devastating our land and water and leaving us with a crime boom to contend with.”

The Jobs Agenda by Nick Reisman

Cox To Cuomo: Without Fracking, NY Isn’t Open For Biz

Republican Chairman Ed Cox opened up another broadside at Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday with a letter knocking him for not allowing high-volume hydrofracking in the state.

New York has missed several regulatory deadlines to develop regulations and allow hydrofracking permitting, a delay that Cox believes is a soft spot on Cuomo’s economic record.

“It’s a decision you should make today,” Cox said. “Further delay is intolerable.”

Cox also uses the letter to push back against the attacks from Democratic lawmakers and party Executive Director Rodney Capel who have in turn blasted the chairman for his financial ties to the natural gas industry.

Sens. Tim Kennedy and Daniel Squadron have both called for an ethics investigation of Cox’s fracking push.

And he notes his own environmental bonafides, pointedly stating that Cuomo appointed Cox to his environmental transition team in 2006 after he was electing attorney general.

“This isn’t about cheap political hits,” Cox wrote. “This is about jobs for a struggling region of New York State. And you do a disservice to your constituents by playing politics with jobs.”

The full letter is after the junmp. More >

Squadron Latest Dem Lawmaker To Call For JCOPE Probe Of Cox (Updated)

Democratic Sen. Daniel Squadron became the second lawmaker in his conference to call for an ethics probe of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox and his ties to natural gas companies.

In a letter to Joint Commission on Public Ethics Chairman Daniel Horwitz, Squadron writes that Cox’s focus on hydrofracking and criticism of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s delay in making a decision on the issue should be looked into, given Cox’s investments in an energy company.

From the letter:

“Is Ed Cox using his statewide position as chair of one of the state’s two major parties to advocate on behalf of a corporation that pays him more than a quarter-million dollars a year — and of which he holds more than $4.25 million in stock? Does his financial interest pose a conflict of interest, and should Mr. Cox have to register as a lobbyist for Nobel?”

Squadron also references in the letter an editorial from The Daily Gazette of Schenectady that criticizes Cox for the fracking focus. Coincidentally, an email to state Democrats from the party’s executive director Rodney Capel referenced and linked to that same editorial. The email was released around the same time Wednesday afternoon as the Squadron letter.

“The fact that Republicans claim there is no conflict of interest is laughable,” Capel wrote in his email. “Cox has millions in cash and stock from a fracking company, while he tries to convince New Yorkers that he knows what’s best for our state’s energy future.”

Earlier this month, Buffalo Democratic Sen. Tim Kennedy wrote to JCOPE urging a similar ethics review of Cox.

If anything, the letters from Squadron — a downstater — and western New York’s Kennedy represent the start of some serious surrogacy work on behalf of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a year before he runs for re-election. Perhaps it’s no coincidence the attacks are coming from Senate Democrats after Cuomo has started to publicly break with their rival Independent Democratic Conference.

Updated: David Laska, the state Republican spokesman who is a busy guy today, sent a statement in response.

“Another day, another henchman dispatched by Andrew Cuomo with an ad hominem attack on Ed Cox. Meanwhile, it’s been almost a year since the Cuomo administration said it needed 90 days to complete their study on natural gas. Cuomo’s refusal to meaningfully address natural gas is symptomatic of his refusal to meaningfully address tax reform, Medicaid, mandate relief, education, pension liabilities and corruption. It’s no wonder that Republicans swept all seven County Executive seats last Tuesday, including in Andrew Cuomo’s own Westchester County.”

Updated X2: Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie is now taking on Cox, but in a different manner. He’s knocking him for the Malcolm Smith scandal, a day after former Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino pleaded guilty in the case.

With the former Bronx Republican Leader pleading guilty to bribery with the purpose of allowing State Senator Malcolm Smith to buy his way onto the New York City mayoral ballot, New Yorkers deserve to know what State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox knew about this corrupt scheme.

As the chair of the state party, Ed Cox was responsible for padding the GOP ticket. It is plausible and necessary to ask whether or not the county Republican chairs worked together with the state party in a crooked ploy to swindle New Yorkers. New Yorkers deserve to know if Ed Cox was elbow-deep and in collusions with the Bronx Republican Leader.

We are entitled to the truth. The action of the Bronx Republican Leader raises alarming questions into the dealings of the State Republican Party.  How deeply entrenched is Ed Cox in the Backroom Boy’s Club of corrupt political cronies who attempted to dupe New York City voters?

The full letter can be read below and after the jump.

More >