Speakers eye GOP’s present, future

PERTH – Republicans expressed cautious optimism about their party’s future at the 29th annual Fulton County Republican Chairman’s Club Dinner in Perth.

Filling half of the Raindancer Restaurant on Monday, Republican representatives from Fulton County and surrounding areas met to discuss the current condition of the Grand Old Party and its future.

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Edward F. Cox was the guest speaker at the event.

Cox – who has served three U.S. presidents, four governors and the Republican Party at the state and national levels – said he was confident about the future of the Republican Party after Democratic missteps since the 2012 elections.

“In 2016 we are going to elect a Republican president of the United States,” Cox said.

Cox said Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s earlier popularity, which was in the 70 percent range, was because he was following the Republican Party’s platform on many issues.

Cox said this has changed since the 2013 State of the State Address.

“This is a time where New York desperately needs pro-growth reforms to attract the system to create jobs. What have Cuomo’s priorities been? Progressive taxes, gay marriage, violating our Second Amendment rights with the SAFE Act,” Cox said.

Cox said President Barack Obama has also made some poor decisions, including pushing for a national gun control bill.

“He should be ashamed the way he used those children and people from Newtown,” Cox said. “…He is in decline as a president.”

Cox said despite areas of the state being very Democratic, Republican candidates do stand a chance to win in these areas.

“In 2010, we won six congressional seats all across New York state, including in some very Democratic areas,” Cox said.

In 2012, Cox said, despite the presidential election going to Obama, many Republicans won on a local and state scale.

Thomas Doherty of Mercury Public Affairs, who was the keynote speaker for the event, said future elections would hinge not on a local level, but a national level.

“You have to look beyond this,” Doherty said. “We live in a world that is not just ‘Republicans, Republicans,’ 24/7.” Doherty said.

As a party, Doherty said, the Republicans need to push forward and become more inclusive.

“We can’t have Congressman Don Young of Alaska calling Hispanic-Americans – I don’t care if they jumped a fence to get here – wetbacks,” Doherty said. “… If you think of the Missouri senate race, our candidate is talking about rape, when people are out of work.”

Doherty said while issues such as abortion and gay marriage may be important to members of the party, it is more important to have candidates who know how to win elections.

“We lost Nevada. Harry Reid should have been beaten by anyone in this room,” Doherty said.

Doherty said the reason some Republican candidates lose is because the primary system is “killing our party”

“These primaries keep dragging us so far to the right – which is wonderful, [for] 95 percent of what they have to say. But let’s, as a party, focus on the things that really we need to care about and agree on,” Doherty said.