New York’s Republican Party met in a hotel outside Albany Monday to choose its new chair. The Buffalo area’s Nick Langworthy replaces Ed Cox, the son-in-law of President Richard Nixon. The 38-year-old GOP chair promises to bring new energy to the fight against the state’s dominant Democratic Party.
The meeting, attended by Republicans from all over the state, was part nominating meeting, part pep rally.
Outgoing longtime GOP Chair Ed Cox, acknowledges that the party needs to reenergize in New York.
“Our comeback starts now,” Cox said. “We are united, we have done it before and we will do it again.”
Republicans have not won a statewide office since 2002, when Governor George Pataki won a third term in office.
Cox lost his bid to remain as Party Chair, after a decade at the helm. Speakers were uniformly complimentary toward the now former chair, but they also spoke of a need for change. They say they see an opportunity in winning voters who may be put off by the leftward trend of the Democratic Party, with key figures like New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Central New York Representative Tom Reed urged Republicans to go outside their comfort zone, and visit places like Harlem, and liberal upstate cities like Ithaca, where he says they could win some converts.
“This (Democratic) party has been taken over by extremists,” said Reed, who said the Democrat’s ideas will “destroy our state and our country.”
“Never on our watch, America will not become a socialist nation,” Reed said.
Others say Governor Andrew Cuomo and the all-Democratic state legislature have gone too far in their progressive policies this year and offended many potential voters, including allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, and strengthening rights for late-term abortions.
Democrats, in the final hours of the session, nearly passed an automatic voter registration bill that mistakenly would have allowed undocumented immigrants to vote. The glitch was discovered by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican who spoke at the convention and who is seeking a seat in Congress.
“That was no error,” Malliotakis said. “They know how reckless they have been under one party rule. They know that they pissed off New Yorkers this year.”
Langworthy, former Erie County GOP Chair, has overseen an upstate Republican bastion against the growing statewide influence of the Democrats.
He is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, and says Republicans should learn from the president that it’s OK to play hardball in politics.
“Our president has made America great,” Langworthy said. "And the NY GOP will help him keep America great.”
Speaking to reporters afterward, Langworthy says that he believes voters can be won over with an economic message, and he says the president is “delivering economic results” for everyone, comparing the situation to that of conservative President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
“Most Americans can say ‘I’m better off than I was three years ago,’” said Langworthy, who also said he believes Trump can bring out voters that stayed home in the 2018 elections that he says “were really tough on New York Republicans.”
Langworthy vowed to field a Republican candidate in every Congressional district in the state next year. After that, he says he plans to find someone to run and win against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, and deny Cuomo’s wish to serve a fourth term.