Santos criticizes Cairo over DeSantis
Santos on DeSantis visit
The scheduled visit Saturday to Nassau County by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is fodder for a certain member of Congress who has fallen out of favor with his local Republican organization.
"One would ask why is the Nassau GOP promoting a Desantis event? Well I’d say because the party Chairman Joe Cairo is an admitted 'Anti-Trumper' " tweeted Rep. George Santos Monday evening after The Point wrote about the event at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Santos, noting in his comments the latest Siena poll showing former President Donald Trump with a 52% to 27% lead over DeSantis, added “Trump 2024!”
But Cairo told The Point Tuesday that Santos is wrong, the party is not supporting DeSantis.
“Ron DeSantis is a Republican and the Governor of Florida. The GOP felt he should be treated appropriately and respectfully,” said Cairo. “That’s all it is,” he said, adding, “DeSantis isn’t even an official candidate.”
Cairo told The Point the local GOP was contacted last week about the logistics of holding a “book event” on Long Island and that the sponsors were considering a handful of venues that were available on short notice. The requirements were that the spot have ample parking and that DeSantis could get on and off the Island quickly.
Cairo said he was told the reason for the visit was to promote DeSantis' new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.” However, the free event is being coordinated by a political advocacy PAC called "And to the Republic" which rented the museum space. The few details available so far contrast with a DeSantis book signing in Tallahassee last week that was described in news accounts as a book signing in which 250 tickets were distributed for admission, which allowed the holder to buy the book for $42 and have it signed by the governor. The Florida Republican Party, which is handling press for DeSantis, did not respond to inquiries about the specifics of his Nassau appearance.
To his knowledge, Cairo said there is no big donor fundraiser planned either before or after. Cairo said that he will attend and told DeSantis’ team that party workers “will be made available” as well.
That’s in contrast to what Suffolk chair Jesse Garcia told The Point Monday. Garcia said his organization was too focused on 2023 to pay attention to possible 2024 presidential candidates.
— Rita Ciolli @ritaciolli
State Democrats regroup for recovery
Just after November’s election setbacks in Congress and the State Legislature came calls from inside the Democratic Party to oust Nassau County’s Jay Jacobs as state chairman. Among them were local elected officials and members of the Democratic State Committee, mainly to Jacobs’ political left.
Jacobs is still standing. He has openly argued that to cede control of a diverse statewide party to narrowly ideological urban progressives would spell further slippage in elections. Against that backdrop, the committee is preparing to meet Wednesday in Kingston to plan for next year, when the House, State Senate and Assembly seats are up again with the U.S. presidency at the top of the ticket.
An “open and constructive dialogue” about a stronger structure is expected, inside sources told The Point, and “more of an informational discussion” than an airing of the grievances.
As noted in post-November press coverage, relatively tiny New Hampshire has a Democratic Party with 16 full-time paid staff members and New York only four. The operation has always depended mainly on the county leadership.
As a result, the meeting agenda is expected to include a plan for hiring people who would carry out a stronger “ground game” through canvassing and reaching out to voters on behalf of nominees. One chair spoke of “raising resources to prop up the county committees.”
In New York, presidential years traditionally pull up Democratic turnout. What that will mean for down-ballot races is among the party’s concerns. A template for worry: In November, Gov. Kathy Hochul survived a strong challenge statewide, but other Democrats sustained major losses on Long Island including races for two House seats they’d long held.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
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