Despite losses, Ed Cox sees the silver linings, including 2013 and 2014

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Ed Cox with Rep. Bob Turner. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Republicans had a rough Election Night across the country, but Republican state chairman Ed Cox is trying to see the silver lining in New York. Or at least, provide an explanation.

"President Obama's strong performance hurt our down-ballot candidates," Cox wrote in a post-election memo emailed to supporters and journalists over the weekend. But Cox argued Republicans are better off now than they were two years ago.

"Before the 2010 elections, we held only two congressional seats and had no majority in the state legislature. We now hold six congressional seats and potentially a continuing majority in the State Senate, as well as significant additional local offices."

It's an optimistic view of Tuesday night, when Republicans may have lost their lone, longtime center of power in Albany, after Democrats appeared to win a majority of seats in the State Senate. 

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Cox also contrasted the national hand-wringing over Republicans' lack of diversity with what he says are significant in-roads by the state party.

"The State Party has established coalitions in a number of communities, including the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Indian and young professionals communities…As a national center for many ethnic groups, New York has been ahead of the game: our networking and outreach success here can be a model for other Republican organizations in the future."

My favorite line, though, is this: "While Tuesday's results were disappointing, New York Republicans can look forward to successful election cycles in 2013 and 2014."

Cox's memo does not mention the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo will be campaigning all over New York in 2014 and that there are very few Republicans who would be considered remotely credible challengers to his re-election, when Cuomo is likely to try running up the score in 2014 as a way to help build the buzz and anticipation for a potential presidential race in 2016. (Like Hillary Clinton's 2006 senate re-election before her 2008 White House run.)

And 2013? Republicans are still figuring that one out.

On Friday, City Councilman Vinny Ignizio took a break from helping Staten Island residents recover from Hurricane Sandy, to say on Facebook, "NYS GOP Chairman Cox -- it's time to go."

After I tweeted part of Cox's memo ("We look forward to a great cycle in 2014…"), Republican consultant Tom Doherty wrote "delusional. He needs to step aside quickly."

Here's Cox's memo:

MEMO: Where We Are and Where We're Going

FROM: The New York Republican State Committee

DATE: November 9, 2012

While Tuesday's results were disappointing, New York Republicans did win some key elections, including defeating an incumbent Democratic Congresswoman in western New York and winning the Supervisor of Brookhaven in Suffolk County. We will continue growing our party from the ground up in local elections in 2013 as we look forward to a successful midterm election cycle in 2014.

Election Night 2012

New York is a deep blue state: President Obama's vote share of 63% in New York was the 4th highest nationwide, behind the liberal small state triumvirate of Hawaii, Vermont and Rhode Island. But significantly, Obama's vote share in New York was greater than in any other large blue state, including Massachusetts (60%), California (59%), Connecticut (58%), New Jersey (58%) and Illinois (57%).

President Obama's strong performance hurt our down-ballot candidates. Two of our incumbent Congresswomen were defeated, and two congressional challengers lost very close races.

But there was some good news out of our House races: five of our Republican incumbents, Reps. Peter King, Michael Grimm, Chris Gibson, Richard Hanna and Tom Reed, are returning to Congress. And Republican Chris Collins defeated a strong Democrat incumbent to give us a congressional pickup.

Control of the New York State Senate will be decided over the coming weeks. We expect to keep our majority and will continue to be a major fiscally responsible voice in the governance of New York State. Once again, of the ten most Democratic states in America, only one of their twenty state legislative houses is in Republican hands: the New York State Senate. By contrast, California just elected a two-thirds Democratic majority in both its houses, as California continues its profligate tax and spend ways.

Before the 2010 elections, we held only two congressional seats and had no majority in the state legislature. We now hold six congressional seats and potentially a continuing majority in the State Senate, as well as significant additional local offices.

2013 and Beyond

As we did after the 2008 elections, we will continue to build the party from the bottom up.

As the Newsday headline read, "Obama wins nationally, Republicans win locally."

Among our many local victories, Republicans Debbie Preston, Sandy Schepp, Ed Romaine and Stefan Mychajliw won highly competitive races for Broome County Executive, Onondaga County Clerk, Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Erie County Comptroller, respectively. Each of these victories occurred in counties carried by President Obama.

Even though 2013 will be considered an "off year" election by the pundits, a number of important elections will be taking place in New York State, including the New York City Mayoralty and County Executive races in key counties, including Rockland, Westchester and Nassau.

We can then look forward to a great cycle in 2014, as the President's party historically fairs poorly in the midterm elections of a second term.

Furthermore, Obama's slim win and, as even Bob Woodward recently noted, his weak history of leadership in the context of our ongoing economic crisis, could set up an extraordinary midterm election for the party not in the White House. And with 20 Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2014 compared to only 13 Republicans, Republicans will be in an especially strong position to retake the United States Senate.

Working with National Leaders

The New York Republican State Committee has developed excellent working relationships with all the national committees, their leaders and staff, including the RNC, Boehner Trust, NRCC, NRSC, RGA and RSLC.

Over the last election cycle, Speaker Boehner came to New York seven times and campaigned with Chairman Cox in nine congressional districts. The Speaker's office conceived, and together with the State Party, financed and implemented our victory programs, which provided the margin of victory in not only some of our congressional races, but also in many of our down ballot races. Through our 13 Victory Centers that reached every corner of the state, over 1,500 volunteers made 1.46 million phone calls and knocked on over 84,000 doors. Nearly 6 million pieces of mail were distributed in support of our Congressional candidates.

Coalitions Building

The State Party has established coalitions in a number of communities, including the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Indian and young professionals communities.

Under the purview of our Coalitions Director, these networks, in close consultation with the State Party, direct outreach, communication, and organization of Republicans within their respective communities on a statewide basis.

Our message can resonate in these communities: in 2004, George W. Bush won 45% of the Hispanic vote. In 2012, Mitt Romney won only 27%.

As a national center for many ethnic groups, New York has been ahead of the game: our networking and outreach success here can be a model for other Republican organizations in the future.

Conclusion

While Tuesday's results were disappointing, New York Republicans can look forward to successful election cycles in 2013 and 2014.

We will continue to grow the party by working with party leaders nationally and expanding our network of coalitions here in New York.

The Republican Party in New York will continue to be a growing force for personal and economic freedom, job growth, lower taxes, less spending, limited government, local control and a strong national defense.