Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The state of the Republican party in New York State has seen better days, says Republican strategist Carl Calabrese. One fight within the state committee could distract candidates in this year's races.
"They have not won a statewide election in quite a few cycles. They don't hold any major offices, and only control the Senate thanks to a group of Democrats called the Independent Democratic Caucus," says Calabrese.
He says the sub-battle in the governor's race is the fight to replace Ed Cox as state GOP chairman. which could become a huge distraction to Rob Astorino and his bid to unseat Governor Cuomo. "A split party caused by a bruising fight for chairman is a tough hill to climb, nearly impossible," believes Calabrese. "That's not something you want to have happen when you're the party's standard-bearer in trying to take back the governor's seat."
For Astorino to win, Calabrese says he must do four things: keep 85 percent of the GOP vote, plus 60 percent of the Independent vote, 30 percent of the Democratic vote and rely on a low turnout in New York City. He must also get help in raising money.
The state chairman fight is less of an issue for Congressional candidate Kathy Weppner, says Calabrese, but she has her own handicap. "If you look at the re-election rate for members of congress, it's usually 98 percent of incumbents win," explains Calabrese. "She's a very articulate, passionate, and energetic woman and she'll be a good standard-bearer for the Republicans."