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Calls mount for Ed Cox to leave state GOP helm after losses

Calls for New York Republican Chairman Edward F. Cox to resign are increasing after the GOP suffered major statewide losses last week.

Carl P. Paladino, the 2010 candidate for governor and a longtime Cox critic, is joined by top party figures like Onondaga County Chairman Thomas V. Dadey Jr. in calling for a change at the top. And several sources point to Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy as the potential replacement most often mentioned.

Paladino has sought Cox’s removal in the past, but now says his departure is especially necessary after Republicans on Election Day lost three congressional seats as well as the state Senate – its last bastion of power in Albany.

Cox, who has been chairman since 2009, cannot be removed from the post until he stands again for re-election before the Republican State Committee in September. He also insists he will serve through his term and run again.

But voices calling for his resignation are increasing in volume.

“I’m asking him to resign in the best interest of the party,” Paladino said. “He’s been terrible. He can’t raise money and we’ve had all these losses.

“It’s time to say: ‘Ed, you’ve been a failure and we are not just going to keep feeding your ego,’ ” he added.

Dadey, considered one of the state’s influential county leaders, said the New York GOP has hit “rock bottom.”

“The results are what they are and we’ve got nothing,” Dadey said. “I just don’t know how Ed Cox stays. We need to make changes, clean house, and start from the ground up.”

And on Saturday, New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens penned an op-ed article for the New York Daily News that outlined a long litany of Republican losses throughout the state and described the party as on “life support.”

“Chairman Ed Cox is a decent man, but he has presided over significantly more electoral losses than wins,” Ulrich said. “In fact, he is 0 for 14 in statewide contests. After this year’s rout, one thing is clear – Cox should resign.”

But the chairman said Monday he is not going anywhere. And though his statewide candidates fared poorly last week, he feels a new “energy” in the party as it assumes opposition status. He views the GOP as a check on newly re-elected Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“He has huge vulnerabilities and we need to take advantage of that,” Cox said of the governor. “This is a real opportunity and why I took this job to begin with.”

Cox envisions an electorate in tune with a booming “Trump economy” orchestrated by fellow New Yorker Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, that will also reverberate in the state.

“If the Trump economy keeps going through 2020, I see a ‘72 or ‘84 sweep of Republicans back into the majority in the state Senate,” he said. “We have got to be ready for that.”

Langworthy, meanwhile, has emerged in recent years as a top figure in the party. But right now, he is not talking about its future.

“There will be plenty of time to talk about the future of the party,” Langworthy said. “The dust is still settling.”

Cox said any questions about Langworthy’s continued support should be directed to the Erie County chairman.

“We have worked very closely together to create effective statewide candidates in this race,” Cox said, pointing to Langworthy’s efforts to recruit Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro as this year’s GOP candidate for governor. “We will continue to work closely together to build the party.”

Still, critics over the past few days have been piling on, noting that no Republican has been elected to the U.S. Senate since Alfonse M. D’Amato in 1992 while no other has won statewide office since George E. Pataki won the governor’s post in 2002. And while the state Senate managed to retain its GOP edge for years despite rising Democratic enrollment, last week’s loss of its Republican majority – with reapportionment looming – could spell an even more dismal future.

Paladino, a strong supporter of President Trump, criticized the New York party’s efforts to distance itself from the president. He noted that Molinaro never embraced Trump.

“Molinaro would have done better if he had asked Trump to a rally,” Paladino said. “He needed an upstate New York wave and he did not get it without big Trump involvement.”

Paladino said he is in contact with other party leaders, whom he would not name, and is ready to advance a replacement candidate, whom he also would not name.

“I’d like to do it now,” he said. “It’s a matter of organizing and strategy.”

And Dadey, the Onondaga County chairman, said talks are continuing among county chairmen about how to address the situation.

“We as a party in New York State need to change,” he said. “We are continuing to do the same old things without success, and that’s the definition of insanity.”

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