ALBANY — A familiar face has returned to run the New York State Republican Committee, as Edward F. Cox was elected to run the party at a conference in the capital Monday.
Mr. Cox, who ran the New York state GOP from 2009 to 2019, was re-elected to leadership post unanimously, after a drawn-out competition for the seat among a crop of many Republican officials for the position.
Assemblymen, a number of county Republican committee chairs and two former Republican attorney general candidates were seeking the seat, which was formally vacated on Monday morning by freshman Congressman Nick A. Langworthy, R-Jamestown. Mr. Cox, the son-in-law of the late former President Richard M. Nixon, did not declare a public attempt to run for the seat until late February, but then quickly moved to secure support among county party leaders.
Some of his former opponents for the chairmanship came together to support Mr. Cox on Tuesday, each seconding his nomination with speeches stressing the importance of party unity and the benefits of returning Mr. Cox to the leadership position he stepped back from in 2019, following a poor Republican performance in 2018’s elections.
Mr. Cox’s return to run the New York state party now came with a promise to support local Republicans and to build public support for electing Republicans statewide.
“We’re going to raise the money that we need to win, we’re going to restart the local assistance programs and invest in campaigns in your towns and counties, and we’re going to expand our grassroots fundraising and outreach,” Mr. Cox said to the assembled Republican leaders following his election.
He made the usual Republican criticisms of the powerful Albany Democratic machine, accusing them of seeking power for its own sake and ignoring the needs of their constituents, and Mr. Cox made the case that New York’s Republicans were well-positioned to earn strong support among New York’s voters.
“We’re about the basics,” he said. “Safe streets, good jobs, good education. The far left, which has captured the Democratic leadership in the legislature, is about revolving door justice, letting criminals back on the street..”
Outgoing chair Congressman Nick A. Langworthy, R-Jamestown, said his term had provided a number of wins for the state party. Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo left office in 2021, New York elected eleven Republicans to Congress last year, helping return the U.S. House of Representatives to GOP control, and the party came the closest to electing a Republican governor as it’s been in 20 years. But the party remains out of power in Albany, without a majority in either chamber of the Legislature and holding no statewide offices.
Chairman Cox said he comes back to the party at a time when Albany’s Democrats are making a number of power plays, and he wants to position the Republican party as a bulwark against those moves. He said he was inspired to seek a return to leadership after watching the way the nomination of Judge Hector D. LaSalle for the top state judge position was handled. Judge LaSalle, nominated by Governor Kathleen C. Hochul, was rejected by progressives in the state Senate, leading to a constitutional fight over the Senate’s role of advising and consenting to judicial nominees.
“They’re now trying to take over the judiciary,” Mr. Cox said. “That’s corruption of the worst sourt, it’s corruption on the foundations of our democracy. We need to build the party to a place where we can challenge the Democrats who have supermajorities in both houses of the legislature and elect the officials that we need.”
Mr. Cox made no mention of former President Donald J. Trump, who is running for reelection in 2024, in his remarks Monday, and said he has no plans to advance support for any presidential nominees this early in the race. He said he plans to follow the pattern he did in 2016, laying off state party support for any one candidate to encourage visits from as many candidates as possible.
“It was terrific for the party in 2016, with all three remaining candidates campaigning all around the state, we had a ball here in New York, and in the end we decided who the Presidential nominee would be and who the next President of the United States would be,” he said.
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