November 8, 2010

State GOP Could Learn Much From Niagara

While the Republican Party enjoyed a multitude of regional successes across New York, statewide GOP candidates fared much worse. In fact, not a single statewide Republican candidate won last Tuesday. Now, I understand the huge Democratic overlay in the state, but that's an unacceptable excuse. Republicans won in areas that the concept of electing a Republican was once as inconceivable as the Cubs winning the World Series.

I have subsequently heard a multitude of excuses for the failures of the statewide ticket, but they're garbage. It wasn't voter apathy and it wasn't Carl Paladino's comments. It was the failure of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox to properly lead the organization.

From his misguided attempt to get his kid elected, to his drafting of a Dem to run for governor, to his absolute failure to raise sufficient funds for statewide races, Cox has been an unmitigated disaster.

What I find most bothersome is how quick he is to take credit for Tuesday's regional wins, while refusing to acknowledge any responsibility for the same night's statewide losses. These are not the actions of a man of honor. A man of honor is humble in victory and learns from defeat. I'm not saying that one must accept defeat, but you must learn from it. Cox won't learn from it because he hasn't acknowledged any responsibility for it.

What Tuesday night's outcomes do tell us is that the Niagara County Republican Committee is unequivocally the best Republican organization in the state. Every single statewide GOP candidate in New York won Niagara County on Election Day. And yes, there are more Democrats than Republicans in Niagara County.

The win by Republican John Ceretto over incumbent Francine DelMonte in the 138th Assembly race was an amazing win, but it pales in comparison to the impending defeat of Antoine Thompson at the hands of Mark Grisanti. Political pundits have said that a win by Grisanti would go down as one of the greatest political upsets in the state's history. While this race was a fantastic collaboration between the Erie and Niagara County GOP organizations, this win, if/when it is confirmed, is due to an absolute thumping of Thompson in Niagara.

The credit for that goes to the entire GOP organization in Niagara. From Chairman Mike Norris, to the town & city chairs and committeepersons to all of the volunteers, this is a motivated and impactful organization.

In addition to Tuesday's regional wins and strong showings for statewide candidates, the Niagara GOP already has an unprecedented 15 of 19 county legislature seats, 11 of 12 town supervisors and two of three mayors. That is simply astounding in this state. That level of continued success doesn't happen by accident or luck. Of course, Cox & Co. will likely downplay the local GOP's success, passing it off as, "Oh, it's just Niagara County". Well, winning is winning, a concept Cox is painfully unfamiliar with. Winning is contagious. Obviously for Cox, so is losing.

Another person that deserves much credit for Niagara GOP's years of successes, and Tuesday night's phenomenal showing, is Henry Wojtaszek. Although he turned the reins of the party over to Norris earlier this year, after nine years as Chairman, Wojtaszek remains an integral part of the Niagara County GOP organization. He and Norris form the best one-two combo in the state. All they do is win elections - and they do it with honor.

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