Upstate Republican Leader Hopes for Party Change ‘From the Bottom Up’

In today's Post, Fred Dicker reports that Republican State Party Chairman, Joe Mondello, is being encouraged to leave his two-year term early, in light of party losses in the elections last week.

Nick Langworthy, the former executive director of the Erie County Republican Committee, who managed Chris Lee’s successful congressional race, told me this morning that ousting Mondello is a bit beside the point.

He thinks the party should focus on local leaders. “The best message we can get going forward is not pointing fingers, but that this change is going to come from the bottom up,” he said in a brief telephone interview.

“We’re going to sink or swim on our own. As a local party, you’re going to be gauged not just by how your candidate for governor does, but you’re going to be judged by whether or not you got the vote out–did you run candidates for City Council, county legislature, mayor?”

Langworthy did say having a strong candidate at the top of the ticket would help kick-start local efforts. He cited George Pataki's gubernatorial campaign, which helped Republicans carry Erie County even though they are outnumbered. (In Erie, Democrats have 325,597 voters; Republicans have 175,986).

Could Rudy Giuliani, who may be eyeing a run for governor, win Erie County?

“Oh certainly," Langworthy said. "But it’s not something you could take for granted. You’d have to work for it, have to spend time meeting people and traveling. But certainly he can carry it.” Upstate Republican Leader Hopes for Party Change ‘From the Bottom Up’