With no statewide victories in nearly two decades, two central New York Republican county chairs believe the state GOP needs new leadership.
Cherl Heary, chair of the Cayuga County Republican Committee, and Onondaga County GOP Chair Tom Dadey have endorsed Nick Langworthy in the race to lead the state GOP.
Langworthy, who chairs the Erie County Republican Committee, is challenging state Republican Chairman Ed Cox. The election will be held at a state committee meeting this summer.
Heary said Tuesday that she likes Cox, who was elected state GOP chair in 2009. But she views Langworthy as more enthusiastic and believes it's time for new leadership.
"Nick has plenty of new ideas, which I think we have to try," Heary said. "I think we're not going anywhere. We haven't gone anywhere in 12 years. It's time for somebody else to take the reins."
During Cox's tenure as chair, Republicans have won congressional races across the state. In central New York, GOP candidates won congressional races in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
But there has been criticism of Cox because of the party's failure to win statewide elections. The last Republican to win a statewide race was ex-Gov. George Pataki in 2002.
Since that election nearly 17 years ago, Democrats have swept Republicans in races for governor, attorney general and comptroller.
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The lack of statewide success was a major factor in Dadey's decision to support Langworthy.
"What we have been doing for the last decade has not worked," Dadey said on The Citizen's Eye on NY podcast last week. "There is a lot of folks who think we need to go in a different direction."
Dadey formally announced in a tweet Monday that he is supporting Langworthy for state Republican chair to "rebuild, retool and revitalize" the party.
Langworthy was elected Erie County GOP chair in 2010. He served as chair of the New York College Republicans from 1999 to 2003.
As chairman, Langworthy supported fellow Erie County resident Carl Paladino's gubernatorial bid in 2010. Paladino won the GOP primary to face then-Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo in the general election.
Dadey noted that Langworthy has been successful despite leading the GOP in a county where Democrats have a large enrollment advantage. Republicans hold three of the five countywide offices.
"He's working really hard at it," Dadey said. "He's got a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm."
As of Tuesday, Langworthy has been endorsed by GOP chairs from Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Fulton, Livingston, Onondaga, Saratoga, Schenectady and Steuben counties. Five chairs from Broome, Chenango, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties have endorsed Cox to continue as state GOP leader.