Politico.com - Langworthy challenges Cox for GOP chair after disastrous 2018

Langworthy challenges Cox for GOP chair after disastrous 2018


04/28/2019 02:51 PM EDT


ALBANY — With the state Republican Party at a generational nadir following last year's elections, Nick Langworthy, who heads the GOP in Erie County, has decided to challenge Ed Cox for state chair.

Langworthy formally announced his candidacy in a video released on Saturday, hours before he and Cox participated in a forum in the city of Geneva with various county chairs and other Republican leaders. The leadership vote will be held at the state committee's meeting in the summer.

“The 2018 elections were cataclysmic, and there’s been no self-reflection and I think its important to talk about a way forward and getting our party back on track,” Langworthy told POLITICO. The party lost its longtime majority in the state Senate last year, leaving it with no source of power in Albany.

“We lost greatly, and I don’t blame any one person for that loss," he added. "There’s plenty of reasons why we didn’t do well in 2018, but it's what you do after that. We have to rebuild the party, brick by brick.”

For his part, Cox — who has held the post since 2009 — is confident he has the votes to stave off Langworthy's challenge, and says the organization already has begun implementing a series of changes to reboot the party ahead of the 2020 cycle.

“We’re doing the things that others are just talking about,” Cox said in an interview with POLITICO. “We are retooling the party and rebuilding it to address the new power dynamic in Albany and all the changes that have come out of it.”

Cox said that includes staffing up a policy shop as a counterweight on issues like marijuana legalization and better integrating the Senate Republican Campaign Committee by literally bringing it under the same roof as the Republican State Committee’s offices in Albany.

“The fact that we are no longer in government really frees us up to brand ourselves as a party that stands up for principles and will fight for them,” Cox said.

Both Langworthy and Cox are now enthusiastic supporters of the state's top Republican, Donald Trump. But Langworthy was quicker to jump onboardTrump's candidacy — Cox waited to endorse Trump until after New York’s presidential primary in 2016. Cox originally had an uncertain relationship with Trump as the latter emerged as a force in Republican politics, but those differences have since been smoothed over, and Cox travels in similar social circles. Langworthy also helped fuel the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Carl Paladino, who was a proto-Trump candidate.

Langworthy has spent months touring the state to attend local GOP events, familiarizing himself with various leaders and gauging their interest in a change at the top. He said he did not make his decision earlier because party organizations were busy helping their candidates petition for local offices in accordance with the state's new electoral calendar.

Several county chairs have become increasingly critical of Cox.

“I think you have a lot of upstate chairmen and committee people who feel very disenfranchised about what’s going on in New York, and the party has not taken strong stands and given people a reason to vote Republican,” said Warren County Republican Chairman Michael Grasso.

POLITICO spoke with 16 county chairs over the past week about the nascent leadership fight. The majority was critical of Cox and, to varying degrees, said his affable personality and fundraising abilities — not to mention familial largesse — have papered over a lack of direction and inability to field candidates who can win statewide office. The last Republican to do so was George Pataki, who won his third and final term as governor in 2002.

“That’s a really, really long time — that’s generations of people who have gone without Republican leadership in the state,” said Steuben County Republican Chairman Joe Sempolinski.

Cox has faced challengers before, including Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey in 2015, but none gained serious traction. This time, the New York Young Republicans and the chairmen in Staten Island and Saratoga County have formally endorsed Langworthy, and others are preparing to do likewise.

“We’re at the bottom of where we can go, we can go nowhere but up and I think Nick is the person who will lead us into the future,” said Chemung County Republican Chairman Rodney Strange. “Ed Cox has done the best he can, but unfortunately we’re in a very blue state, and losing the state Senate was the last bastion of Republicans in New York.”

Langworthy’s proponents believe his experience helping Republicans in Erie County, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 135,000, can translate to the state level, where the GOP also faces a growing enrollment disadvantage. (Ray Walter’s defeat to now-Assemblywoman Karen McMahon in a traditionally Republican district in Erie County should be considered a stain on that record, Cox said.)

Cox still has his defenders, particularly in downstate areas like Westchester and Long Island, which makes cobbling together the votes needed to oust him a tall task under the party’s weighted vote.

“Right now is the wrong time to change horses, especially in a year where Republicans had a tough time nationally,” said Suffolk County Republican Chairman Jesse Garcia. “It wasn’t just one leader.”

Andrea Catsimatidis, who heads the Manhattan GOP, said Cox’s fundraising and experience will be key to capitalizing on what they see as Albany’s Democratic overreach.

“When something goes wrong people always want change, but it's not always change for the better,” she said. “Change for change’s sake makes no sense.”

Langworthy was not the only Republican who mulled running for the chairmanship: Assemblyman Kieran Lalor (R-Dutchess) thought about it, as did Fulton County Republican Chairwoman Susan McNeil, who is now backing Langworthy. John Jay LaValle, who recently stepped down as head of the Suffolk County Republican Committee to run for mayor of Port Jefferson, previously expressed interest if Cox did not want another term.

Langworthy believes he presents a number of contrasts to Cox — generationally, geographically and ideologically — that are more emblematic of the party and where it needs to go to be successful in the future.

“I’m not here to dwell on the last 10 years, I’m here to get us to the next five,” he said.

Posted on 30 Apr 2019, 9:09 - Category: 2019 Election





Despite the results the Manhattan GOP is bigger, better and stronger than ever!


While the results last evening did not bring us our desired outcome, the Manhattan GOP ran a strong group of diverse and dynamic candidates who helped make our party better. 


Despite the results this cycle we built our membership rolls to the strongest they've been in many years, sent over 300,000 pieces of mail, called every Republican voter in the county twice, for the first time in more than a decade were able to feature our candidates on national TV and radio, giving them more exposure than ever before, expanded our social media presence and built a stronger volunteer database than our party has seen in over 2 decades. 


Our candidates Naomi Levin - CD10, Eliot Rabin - CD12, Jineea Butler - CD13, Anthony Arias - SD26, Theodore Ashton Randle - 27SD, Pete Holmberg - 28SD, Jose Colon - 29SD, Melinda Crump - 31SD, Daby Carreras - 68AD, Corina Cotenescu - 69AD, Ron Goodman - 72AD, Dr. Jeff Ascherman - 73AD and Bryan Cooper - 74AD, all put in an extreme amount of hard work hitting the streets and talking to voters. I hope they stay involved with us in 2019 to continue to build the Manhattan GOP. 


Further, I congratulate the effort shown by our strong statewide ticket including Marc Molinaro, Julie Killian, Keith Wofford, Jonathan Trichter and Chele Farley. Our slate could not have been filled with a better group of individuals who care more about the citizens of New York State. 


I want to congratulate our candidates and our wonderful volunteers for a well fought battle. I stand committed to making the Manhattan GOP better, stronger and prouder from Harlem to Houston Street in 2019.

Posted on 07 Nov 2018, 9:45 - Category: 2018 Election



12:45 PM 08/23/2018

Pete Holmberg | Candidate, New York State Senate


If all the thoughts racing through my mind as I sat there watching the results on November 8th, 2016, becoming the 2018 Republican Candidate for New York State Senate in Trump’s district wasn’t among them. As I sat there with my friends, all of us gay men, all of us registered Democrats, all of us traumatized, I have to say, that thought never occurred to me.

I learned early on that Democrats didn’t have a monopoly on compassion and Republicans didn’t have a monopoly on bigotry.

The one and only time in my life an AIDS joke was told in my presence, it was by a staunch Democrat in a living room filled with other staunch Democrats. I was 21 and that one incident kept my much-questioned young Republicanism firmly in place until I moved to New York City at the age of 25 and decided to vote in relevant primaries.

My journey back to the GOP began just a few hours after Secretary Clinton conceded. Still traumatized, but still grateful to live in a country where at least one person had voted for the leader, I posted the following at 3:20 a.m. on Facebook:

“For months now I was really hoping that Trump supporters would honor democracy and accept Hillary Clinton as their President in the event that my candidate won. Now that our democracy has spoken, I will do unto others and simply say congratulations President Elect Trump on your hard-won victory. You are my President and you have my prayers and my support. God bless America!”

 The online response was positive, and the offline response was vicious. Within minutes, a woman I hadn’t heard from in more than seven years called. She was drunk, enraged, and demanding to know how I could possibly support someone so morally depraved. I was reeling from the hypocrisy as this woman’s morally depraved greatest hits flashed through my mind. I settled in on the one that had yielded her the biggest payoff and casually asked her, “Remember that time you faked a pregnancy?”

A few seconds after she hung up me, she became the first of many to block me on Facebook.

Nature teaches us that beauty is born from ugliness, so I fought to remain optimistic as the new reality set in. I have experienced a lot of failure in my life and the most painful failure has always led to major growth. So I had high hopes for The Democratic Party. There would be one heck of a rigorous audit, mistakes would be owned, and a radical purge of elitism and money-grubbing dysfunction would follow. It would be great!

What happened instead? Democratic leadership claiming victimhood and almost everyone I knew responding in lockstep compliance.

By mid-January, the mass misery was too much to bear, and I simply wanted to witness at least one person being happy, so I reached out to my friend Pax Hart. Given all the Facebook photos of him and Ann Coulter, it was safe to assume he’d voted for Trump. We sat in a diner for hours with zero judgment and endless questions. Our conversation touched on the economy, immigration, and the First Amendment. He made the case that Donald Trump was the most pro-gay President ever elected and we were able to peacefully disagree on a number of issues. That dinner would later be referenced as my “red pill” experience, but in the moment it felt like coming home.

Despite what my teachers wanted me to believe, I knew Jimmy Carter was a horrible President. So, as a thirteen-year-old boy in Winnetka, Illinois, I volunteered for George H.W. Bush’s 1980 primary campaign. I happily made calls, stuffed envelopes, and canvassed door to door.

But back then the reality was pretty clear: Politics was no place for gay people, and certainly not the GOP. So I turned to the world of theatre, where boys like me were safe.

After my dinner with Pax, 2017 proved to be a transformative year. I read a lot. I bought conservative books with the same excitement and terror I felt when I bought gay porn in the 80s. I expressed my “curiosity” to every conservative I could find. And I officially registered as a Republican again.

In March of this year, I was in a rather animated conversation about Lyme disease at a Log Cabin Republican event when a gorgeous blonde woman interrupted. She insisted I was a natural-born candidate and wanted to know who I was and where I lived. I was thrown. I never thought I would hear those words, and certainly not in a Republican context. It had to be joke. The woman was young enough to be my daughter. I was gearing up to gently laugh off the compliment when she gave me her business card. Andrea Catsimatidis. Chairwoman of the Manhattan GOP. She wanted to talk.

I have always been a person who has derived a great deal of power by not taking myself too seriously, and that power was seriously diminished when I hit the streets of Manhattan as a candidate and met people who looked to me with hope.

The people who looked to me with anger were a walk in the park. I expected them; I’ve spent a good deal of my life wading through hostility, and I was more than ready for them. But the total strangers who shared their fears with me and listened intently as I told them exactly who I was and then trusted me to help? Those people floored me. They have changed who I am as a person and basically defined the core of whatever identity I may have as a politician.

I got into this race because I thought that maybe — just maybe — after everything I have been through in my very blessed and challenging life, I could pave the way for some interesting solutions and bring some unexpected people together. With every person I meet, I feel less audacious for making that decision.

My evolution on President Trump was initially prompted by my rejection of all the self-righteous hatred I saw being directed toward him, those around him and his supporters. Hate is not a virtue, and it forced me to see many of my liberal friends in a different light. Watching President Trump fearlessly bulldoze through the avalanche of that hate has helped to give me a perspective on disapproval that would have been useful when I was thirteen. But I’m grateful to have it now as a GOP Candidate in 2018.

From strangers to close friends, I’m getting the standard attacks that all Republicans experience: Fascist, disgusting, ragingly narcissistic. But in Trump’s America, insults are fuel if you’re confident in what you’re doing.

I can do this job. I’ve raised less than fifteen grand, I’m not owned by the lawyers or the unions, and I’m not afraid to be hated.

New York State is greatly handicapped by some of the most nonsensical laws in the country. We are the only state in the union where construction companies retain 100 percent of liability, even if an injured worker is drunk on the job. “Scaffold Law” is one of the main reasons construction costs more in New York State, it’s killing the subway system, and it’s just one of many issues I’ll be able to confront head-on once I’m a State Senator up in Albany.

I came out at age 17 during a time when AIDS was driving many gay men back into the closet. Now, in running as a Republican Candidate in the age (and district) of Trump, I’m once again being accused of bad, self-destructive timing. But as I learned back in 1983, there’s never a bad time to embrace the truth about yourself.

Pete Holmberg is the Republican Candidate for New York State Senate in District 28 of Manhattan. He can found on Twitter @PeteHolmbergNYC and online www.HolmbergForNewYork.com 

Posted on 28 Aug 2018, 7:55 - Category: 2018 Election

Manhattan GOP Endorses Candidates for November 6th Election

from L to R: Bryan Cooper, Melinda Crump, Pete Holmberg, Chair Catsimatidis, Anthony Arias, Daby Carreras

The Executive Committee of the Manhattan Republican Party met last evening to endorse candidates for Senate and Assembly races at the Metropolitan Republican Club on East 83rd Street. County GOP Chair Andrea Catsimatidis said, "we have a strong ticket for the upcoming election cycle led by our gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro. The candidates we have endorsed tonight represent the fabric of the Manhattan GOP; young, dynamic individuals who are running because they are sick of the corruption in Albany being led by career politicians."

The Candidates include:

New York State Senate

Anthony Arias, SD 26 (Lower Manhattan & Western Brooklyn) - A graduate of George Washington University, Anthony is a successful entrepreneur who owns 2 business in New York. A member of Community Board 1 and the Greenwich Village/Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, Anthony has been an activist for the community and small businesses in Lower Manhattan. "I am running to empower small businesses and the New York City residents who have burdened by over regulation and lack of transparency." 

Pete Holmberg, SD 28 (Upper East Side & Midtown East) - As a public relations counsel, Pete guided many private companies through the fundraising process and handled numerous crises. In his current role as a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Keller Williams NYC, Mr. Holmberg has a front row seat to the anxiety that is plaguing people who are contemplating a major investment in the future of Manhattan. "New York City is the great love of my life," says Pete Holmberg. "This town gave me the opportunity to actually be myself, this town gave me tremendous opportunities, and now this town is getting hung out to dry by the Democratic Party. 2019 is the year to fight, and I couldn't be more grateful and proud to have the endorsement of Chairwoman Catsimatidis and the Manhattan GOP."

Melinda Crump, SD 31 (Harlem, Upper West Side) - Melinda has a degree in marine sciences and works for a privately held financial company. She has spent time working in microbiology and genetics research and volunteered for a non-profit campus ministry outreach. "I have seen my neighborhood in Harlem deteriorate over the past 7 years, and I am running to change the long-standing problems caused by mismanagement in Albany."

New York State Assembly

Daby Carreras, AD 68 (East Harlem) - A private wealth manager from East Harlem, Daby has been an activist in his community for over a decade. "I am running because the major concerns in our community, housing, homelessness and unemployment are simply not being solved. Keeping families in perpetual need can never cure our community from poverty and destitution. We are in need of services, better transportation and government transparency. I understand the complexity of our diverse community and can bring that knowledge to Albany."

Bryan Cooper, AD 74 (East Village) - A small business owner and independent contractor, Bryan recently graduated from the NYPD Citizens Police Academy and is a member of the Office of Emergency Management CERT Team. "In Albany, I want to continue my work as an activist fighting for quality of life issues, advocating for tenants' rights, small business owners and seniors." 

Posted on 22 May 2018, 8:40 - Category: 2018 Election

The Hill: Manhattan GOP chief promises ‘big tent party’

Manhattan GOP chief promises ‘big tent party’

BY OLIVIA BEAVERS - 10/22/17 12:37 PM EDT


Andrea Catsimatidis, the newly elected Manhattan GOP chairwoman, is promising an inclusive party that can attract a wide range of conservative voters.

"I think the Republican Party needs to be a big tent. And we should attract every type of voter," she told John Catsimatidis, her father, on his Sunday radio show, "The Cats Roundtable."

"I think the most important thing is to reach out to people and engage them and bring them in and also be more inclusive," she said, adding that she aims to "attract more voters, different kinds of voters." 

Andrea Catsimatidis pointed to social media and support for candidates who have "mass appeal" and an ability to help with local issues as key focus areas.

"As Mayor LaGuardia once said, ‘There is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage.’ I think that having that philosophy will bring more voters in to our party," she said.

She added that New York City Republicans "are very different from the rest of the country."

"We are a much more fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and much more inclusive as a party. Our ticket this year is very indicative of that. We have a very diverse ticket," she said.


Posted on 23 Oct 2017, 9:07 - Category: 2017 Election

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