ALBANY — Ed Cox stepped down Monday as head of the Republican Party in New York, just months after heavy losses statewide in congressional and legislative races led to calls for a leadership change.
Allies say Nick Langworthy, the longtime Erie County Republican chairman who had publicly challenged Cox for the leadership, sewed up a majority of the party’s state committee Monday morning.
President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign announced Cox's appointment to the campaign finance team hours after Langworthy allies claimed victory.
Cox, a son-in-law of the late President Richard M. Nixon, had led the New York GOP since 2009. Last year, amid a Democratic “blue wave,” Republicans lost all four statewide races, three congressional seats and their last bastion of power in New York, the State Senate.
In April, Langworthy launched a bid to oust Cox, saying "defeat has become a regular habit for New York Republicans." Long Island GOP leaders stuck with Cox, but over the weekend it became clear Langworthy was close to locking up 50 percent of the vote.
Cox officially will stay on until the party holds its reorganization meeting in July.
“Today is a new beginning for the New York State Republican Party,” Saratoga County GOP Chairman Carl Zeilman said in a statement early Monday.
“As we transition to new leadership and begin rebuilding our party in New York, we must continue to fight for every vote and every taxpayer," Zeilman said. "From building local campaign infrastructure to raising millions of dollars for candidates, Nick Langworthy brings the experience, dedication and acumen we need to revitalize our party.”
Just before 1 p.m. Monday, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale issued a statement, saying: "I’d like to congratulate Ed Cox on becoming the newest member of the Trump Victory finance team from New York. He has been a fantastic state party chairman for nearly a decade, and I can’t think of anyone better to help ensure we have the resources we need to compete in 2020.”
Cox said in a statement, "Ensuring President Trump is re-elected is the most critical task at hand and I'm honored to take on the important role of helping deliver the resources he needs for a huge victory next year."
Cox said serving "as Chairman of the NYGOP over the last ten years has been one of the most rewarding chapters of my life, and I will continue to actively help elect more Republicans here in New York."
GOP losses last fall left the party with six seats in the 27-member House delegation. Perhaps more important, Republicans went from a one-seat advantage in the state Senate before the election to a 17-seat minority.
The outcomes sparked immediate calls among some Republicans for leadership changes.
Like Cox, Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) faced an internal challenge, but defeated Western New York's Cathy Young, who later resigned from the Senate altogether to work for Cornell University.
Flanagan voiced support for Langworthy.
"Over the last few years, I have gotten to know Nick and found him to be a talented and charismatic leader who knows what it takes to attract good candidates and win in a blue county," Flanagan said.