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ALBANY — State Republican Chairman Ed Cox endorsed Donald Trump for president Thursday, but only after months of conflicts within the GOP and Trump’s overwhelming win in Tuesday’s New York primary.
“As a newcomer to elected office, Donald Trump has shown remarkable political skill that has energized Americans who have felt disenfranchised by a government that hasn’t worked for them,” Cox said.
Trump “has a record of cutting through bureaucratic dysfunction and his message to ‘Make America Great Again’ is exactly what we need after two failed terms of President Obama,” Cox said.
Trump’s team is watching to see how the GOP leadership chooses New York’s Republican delegates to this summer’s nominating convention in Cleveland.
Trump’s campaign is concerned that in a contested convention, many of New York’s delegates won by Trump on Tuesday could eventually support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a spokesman said Thursday.
“Everyone deserves an epiphany,” said Trump’s New York point man, developer Carl Paladino of Buffalo. “But behind the scenes, Cox and a few county chairs were working very hard for either Kasich or Cruz.”
Paladino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, called Cox “a dyed-in-the-wool establishment guy. It’s more important to him to do well with the Washington crowd than it is to be right with our people.”
Asked about Paladino’s comments, Cox spokeswoman Jessica Proud said Cox was in Florida at the Republican National Committee meeting “and is working closely with Mr. Trump’s campaign. The goals are to have a fair process and first ballot win. Our emphasis needs to be on ensuring Donald Trump is the next president to the exclusion of any personal political ambitions.”
Trump won 89 of 95 delegates in New York on Tuesday. They will be committed to Trump on the first ballot at the party convention. If Trump hasn’t won 1,237 delegates before the convention, or if he can’t reach that number on the first ballot, New York’s delegates will be free to back another candidate on subsequent ballots.