Langworthy’s Goal: A Republican Governor

The woes of the Republican Party statewide in New York are well known: A 2-to-1 enrollment gap, shut out of statewide office, hasn’t held a statewide office since 2006 and in the minority in both chambers of the Legislature.

Incoming Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, however, isn’t deterred.

“It’s an exciting time,” Langworthy said at an Albany press conference with outgoing Chairman Ed Cox. “I think we are going to show a renewed fighting spirit in the Republican Party.”

Langworthy’s goal is to elect a Republican to the governor’s office — a feat not achieved since George Pataki won a third term in 2002.

“Beyond 2020, my mission and goal is to get us to the point where a Republican to occupy the second floor of the state Capitol,” he said. “That will be our mission critical to put the infrastructure in place across this state in order to win a statewide election for the first time since 2002.”

The event at the state party headquarters a block up the street from the state Capitol was meant to serve as a hand-the-baton moment between Cox and Langworthy. It was a generational and political shift, as well. Cox, though he’s joining the campaign of President Donald Trump, was skeptical of the New Yorker’s campaign early on. And Langworthy has been aligned in the past with populist Republican figures like 2010 candidate for governor Carl Paladino.

Before winning statewide, Langworthy pointed to the push to build enrollment and small-dollar donors, using the disparate data of Republicans in the Legislature and county parties. Langworthy will officially become chairman in July. He was able to wrap up a series of endorsements from Republican chairs in a challenge to Cox for the chairmanship.

“The party is unified and we are passing the baton to a very vigorous new chair,” Cox said flanked next to Langworthy. “We are unified as a party with respect to the former chair, the new chair.”

But Republicans could face a daunting task again in 2020 after losing the state Senate majority and congressional seats over the last several cycles.

Trump, the first New Yorker to occupy the White House since Franklin Roosevelt, remains deeply unpopular in his home state. Langworthy, however, was hopeful the president would turn out to be a boon for Republicans in some districts.

“I think you have to look at the economy and what is going to be a pocketbook election,” he said. “And the Trump economy is on fire.”

Western New Yorkers Praise Incoming State GOP Chair

From the Morning Memo:

Erie County Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo has worked with several Republican leaders over his 25-year tenure. He says Nick Langworthy, who has been the county GOP boss for almost a decade, compares favorably to all of them.

“I’ve had a good working relationship with a number of chairman,” Lorigo said. “Nick is a very aggressive, hardworking chairman who really knows how to get people involved and he knows how to get people elected.”

Langworthy appears to have successfully challenged state Chair Ed Cox, and will become the new head of the state party later this year, as Cox take a job with the Trump campaign. He’ll become the first chair from the Buffalo area in decades, and the youngest person ever to hold the post.

“Nick knows the people in Western New York,” Lorigo said. “He knows the candidates in Western New York. He will not forget Western New York. In fact, he told me he will continue to live here in Western New York. His home is here, his wife and child are here.”

“So Western New York will be a big part of what happens across the state. This gives Western New  Yorkers…people from upstate and the Western part of the state, the ability to move into statewide offices, the ability to know the chairman and have a close relationship with him, and to be able to bring our values throughout the state.”

As a young county chair, Langworthy made a name for himself in part by helping then-relatively unknown Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino get the GOP nomination for governor in 2010. Paladino was not the party’s choice, but he beat out former Long Island Rep. Rick Lazio in the September primary.

Paladino, a long-time Cox critic, praised Langworthy for challenging the establishment again.

“I think it took a lot of courage to go around the state and lobby each county chair for support,” he said. “It’s time we had a someone who represented the whole party.  This is the party of the working man. Ed Cox took us in the wrong direction. He wanted to hang out with high highfalutin types and stuffed shirts.  He was so far  out of touch it was high time for a change.”

Cox and Langworthy are planning to meet in Albany today, and will hold a joint press conference after their discussion.

Ed Cox To Relinquish State Chairmanship

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox in a statement on Monday formally announced he would step aside at the end of his term as chairman to make way for Nick Langworthy.

Cox will join President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to serve on its finance committee.

“Serving as Chairman of the NYGOP over the last ten years has been one of the most rewarding chapters of my life, and I will continue to actively help elect more Republicans here in New York,” Cox said in the statement

“I will be fulfilling the remainder of my term, and in the process, work to unify the Party and ensure a smooth transition for Chairman Langworthy.”

Langworthy, the Erie County Republican chair, had challenged Cox for the chairmanship post, racking up enough county chair endorsements on Monday to near a majority.

Over the last decade, Republicans have struggled to retain control of the state Senate, losing its last lever of power last year in a landslide.

Republicans have won statewide office in New York since 2002.

“I congratulate Nick Langworthy for lining up the support he needs to become our next Republican State Party Chairman,” said Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan. “Over the last few years, I have gotten to know Nick and found him to be a talented and charismatic leader, who knows what it takes to attract good candidates and win in a blue county.”

Langworthy On Verge Of Becoming State Republican Chair

Nick Langworthy is on the verge of becoming the next state Republican Chairman, ousting Ed Cox after a decade of leadership.

Updated: In a statement, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign said Cox would join the campaign’s finance committee.

The Empire Report on Monday reported Cox was preparing a transition of leadership to Langworthy, the Erie County chair.

“The Chairman has been presented with an important new opportunity and there are talks underway for a transition,” said Republican spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “More details will be announced in short order.”

Langworthy on Monday appeared to be poised to win a majority of the county committee endorsements with the backing of Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich.

Langworthy in a text said he is meeting with Cox on Tuesday morning.

“Today is a new beginning for the New York State Republican Party,” said Saratoga County Chairman Carl Zeilman. “

“As we transition to new leadership and begin rebuilding our Party in New York, we must continue to fight for every vote and every taxpayer. From building local campaign infrastructure to raising millions of dollars for candidates, Nick Langworthy brings the experience, dedication, and acumen we need to revitalize our party. From Buffalo to Ballston Spa, Nick will be the Chairman we need to bring the Empire State back from the brink.”

Langworthy launched his bid this year Republicans lost the state Senate majority in November, the GOP’s final toehold on state power. He has pledged to enroll more voters and jumpstart campaign fundraising.

Cox, a son in law of former President Richard Nixon, sought to highlight his recruitment of women and black candidates in a difficult political environment for Republicans in a deeply blue state.

NY-19: Faso Will Not Run For Old Seat

Republican former Rep. John Faso in a statement on Monday said he will not run for the seat he lost last year to Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado in the 19th congressional district.

Faso served for one two-year term in the Hudson Valley House seat.

“After much consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election to the House of Representatives in the 2020 election,” Faso said in a statement.

“Family and professional obligations will make it impossible for me to wage another campaign, especially since such efforts would have to begin almost immediately. Serving in the House was a great privilege for which I will always be grateful to the people of the 19th Congressional District for giving me that opportunity.”

The move opens up a potentially large Republican field for the nomination next year to challenge Delgado. The seat has been viewed as a key swing district for the last several election cycles.

Faso is a former Assembly minority leader who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006.

Republicans Seek To Counteract Greenlight Bill

Republican state lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday began a counter push to an effort that would extend access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Known as the Greenlight Bill, the measure has been a long-sought provision for advocates of undocumented immigrants and has gained traction in the state Assembly in recent days.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie last week confirmed there was sufficient support to bring the bill to the floor in his chamber after a closed-door meeting. Democrats plan to undertake a public awareness campaign to highlight what they say are benefits of the bill, such as insuring more drivers and making it easier for people to get to work.

But Republicans want to exempt county clerks who run local Motor Vehicle offices from the legislation.

“As a former Erie County Clerk I am opposed to the ill-advised policy of granting drivers licenses to people who have entered the country illegally” said Sen. Chris Jacobs.

“The idea of granting licenses to people who are here illegally is not only unfair to law abiding citizens, but it ties the hands of law enforcement and state agencies obligated to protect the public at large. Any County Clerk upholding their oaths of office and refusing to grant such licenses should be protected under the terms of this legislation.”

Sen. Patty Ritchie is also a former county clerk, saying she has “serious concerns” about what local officials would have to do if the bill passes.

“Through this measure, we are ensuring that County Clerks, who are performing their state duties in good faith and with reasonable belief they are upholding their oath of office and the law, are protected,” she said.

Akshar Responds To ‘Beyond Shameful’ Allegations

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Sen. Fred Aksahr in three-minute video posted to his Facebook page this weekend called the allegations that he took advantage of a woman who’s son’s murder he helped investigate as “beyond shameful” and part of an effort to score political points during a district attorney’s race in Broome County.

USA Today Network reported last week Akshar had relations with Mirella Masciarelli that included a one-time sexual encounter at Turning Stone Casino. The incident occurred ahead of an appeal the accused murder, Aaron Powell, was readying in 2015 and before Akshar was elected to the Binghamton-area Senate seat.

“There was a brief and completely consensual relationship,” Akshar said in the video. “No laws or codes of ethics were violated at any time.”

Akshar suggested the framing of the relationship with Masciarelli was in order to sway the outcome of a district attorney primary race.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “This has remained nothing more than a concerted politically motivated smear attempt.”

In a statement on Saturday, Broome County Democratic Committee Chairman Tim Grippen called for Akshar to resign.

“The latest accusations that have emerged against Senator Fred Akshar this week in a video on Facebook are disturbing,” Grippen said.

“I believe that the inappropriate behavior that the Senator has himself admitted to demonstrates that he lacks the judgment, maturity, and integrity required for holding public office, and he should resign. At an absolute minimum, State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan should immediately remove him as the Ranking Minority Member of the Crime Victims Committee.”

Akshar has the backing of his Republican colleagues in the state Senate.

Sen. Robert Ortt in an interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom said the issue was between Akshar and his constituents in the Southern Tier region.

“Certainly, it is something that is regrettable from a judgment standpoint regardless of the legality of it,” Ortt said. “But I don’t know what actions the Senate GOP takes as a conference. I think this is ultimately going to be between Sen Akshar and the people of his district.”

Langworthy Picks Up 5 GOP Chairs

Nick Langworthy on Tuesday announced the endorsements of five additional county chairs in his bid to become the state Republican chairman.

Langworthy, the Erie County GOP chairman, was given the backing of Steuben GOP Chairman Joe Sempolinski, Cattaraugus GOP Chairman Robert Keis, Albany GOP Chairwoman Christine Benedict, Montgomery County GOP Chairwoman Rosemary Smith and Livingston Chairman John Pauer.

“We need a young fighter, someone who will take our Party forward, add to our ranks, and excite a new generation of volunteers and donors,” Pauer said in a statement. “As a neighboring county, I have watched Nick Langworthy grow his organization and win difficult races against strong odds. Nick has experience, heart, and gall, all of which we need at the head of our organization as we wrestle back Albany from the Democrat-stranglehold we have today.”

Langworthy is running to unseat Chairman Ed Cox, who has held the post since 2009.

Senate Republicans Push Crime Victims Bills

Senate Republicans, upset with the recent paroles of Herman Bell and Judith Clark, unveiled a package of bills on Tuesday they said are meant to boost victims rights in New York.

The legislation comes as Democrats at the state Capitol have secured a string of victories for criminal justice law changes, such as ending cash bail, and are considering bills that would potentially lead to the release of elderly inmates.

But Republicans, who lost control of the state Senate last year, says the policies have gone too far in the direction of protecting those who have broken the law.

“Thanks to Democrats who earlier this year passed a Criminal Bill of Rights, Justice is turning a blind eye to crime victims,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. “It is unconscionable that Democrats celebrate, while district attorneys, law enforcement officers and experts, who were not even consulted, warn of dangers.”

Republicans pushed for the passage of bills that would prohibit those convicted of first-degree murder from being paroled. Another bill would impose life in prison those who hare persistent felony offenders upon conviction.

And another measure would require victim impact statements be recorded on video and have members of the Parole Board review the statements prior to a parole hearing.

Broome, Chenango County GOP Chairs Back Cox

Republican chairman in Broome and Chenango counties on Tuesday pledged to support state Chairman Ed Cox’s re-election amid a leadership challenge from Erie County’s Nick Langworthy.

“Ed Cox has my full support for State Republican Chairman,” said Broome County Chairman Bijoy Datta.

“He’s been a tireless advocate for our Party and has helped provide resources, organization and support to deliver countless victories in Broome County, the Southern Tier and across all of Upstate New York. Under Ed’s leadership, Republicans have won elections for Mayors, County Executives, District Attorneys, Judges and more – including plenty of areas where Democrats outnumber Republicans.”

Langworthy launched his bid to oust Cox from the leadership post on Saturday after Republicans last year lost control of the state Senate for the first time in a decade.

But Cox has received the public backing of large county chairs, including Westchester’s Doug Colety.

And the fault lines are not exclusively upstate-downstate in the leadership race.

“As the longest serving County Chair in New York State I have watched State Chairs come and go for many years,” said Chenango County Chairman Tom Morrone. “No one has been more committed to the position than Ed Cox. He works full-time, accepts no salary and is fully dedicated to party building and party unity.”

“As we enter the 2019-2020 election cycle we are facing new dynamics in campaigning including early voting, changes in campaign finance rules and voter registration. Ed Cox has and will continue to provide county parties with the tools needed to win election.”