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State GOP chair Nick Langworthy knocking on Democrats' doors

Robert J. McCarthy

Nick Langworthy is obviously enjoying himself.

Since assuming the helm of the New York State GOP back in July, the former Erie County party chief shows up most days somewhere between Ripley and Montauk. He can probably recite the exact location of Thruway milepost 227.1.

A few days ago, Langworthy need only walk around an Albany corner from his State Street headquarters to Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko’s office on Dove Street. There he railed against the impeachment inquiry underway in the Democratic House of Representatives.

He calls the recent D.C. doings “obstructionist political theatre.”

“If you want to beat President Trump, do it at the ballot box,” Langworthy says.

It’s a familiar script for the new chairman. So far his band has also descended upon Democratic Reps. Max Rose on Staten Island, Antonio Delgado and Sean Patrick Maloney in the Hudson Valley, and Anthony Brindisi in Utica. Except for Tonko’s district, voters in each of those jurisdictions supported President Trump in 2016.

Langworthy makes the same pro-Trump case since urging the then-Manhattan developer to run for governor back in 2013. Many Trump voters may have changed their minds since then, even if Langworthy bets the opposite.

This is Langworthy’s own version of political theater that New York politics often demands. Down more than 3 million voters to the state’s dominant Dems, statewide victories for Republicans lie in the past. Now he must target a congressman here and a county executive there and hope for the best.

Part of that strategy remains supporting the embattled president. New York may be a deep blue state, Langworthy says, but he is appealing to the Trumpers in the many pockets of red. Ditto for all the GOP candidates looking to succeed Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District.

“We’re trying to show signs of life and vitality and that’s very important,” Langworthy says. “I think in the first four months we’ve accomplished that.”

That’s why he and his band are showing up at all those Democratic doorsteps, many of which the Republicans forfeited in the 2018 Democratic wave.

Langworthy faces a major challenge. He bets that Trump’s support has not wavered during a tumultuous three years and that his forces can still pick off some victories by summoning the energy of 2016.

This is the reality of New York’s Republican Party. They take one where they can, with a little bit of theater thrown in.


• Still on Langworthy: The chairman is not tipping his hand on any special election for the 27th District, but does not dismiss the possibility of legal action to force a contest as soon as possible.

The Buffalo News reported last month that the state party might sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo should he call a special election for the Collins seat on the same April 28 date as potential heavy turnout for the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

• The News also reported a few days ago that congressional hopeful Nate McMurray was receiving a frosty reception from Erie Dems as he prepares an encore candidacy in NY-27. Now he and Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner report a thaw.

“I think Nate is headed in the right direction,” Zellner said.

“Most of what I heard was positive feedback,” McMurray said about a recent meeting. “I think we’ll be fine.”

• An interesting new face arrives on the political scene. Democrat Sean Kaczmarek, an English as a new language teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, is exploring a candidacy for the Assembly seat that Sean Ryan will vacate running for the State Senate in November.

A former Cheektowaga-Sloan Board of Education member with a slew of college degrees, Kaczmarek injects a bit of needed new blood into the local mix. More to come ...

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