Republican leadership inside the 27th congressional district is considering a scenario in which State Senator Rob Ortt is elevated to replace Rep. Chris Collins on the ballot while nominating retired State Senator George Maziarz for the 62nd district seat.
It is thought that Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy, who controls an outsized level of influence and weighted vote among the chairmen, is willing to back the plan. Langworthy has his eye on the State Republican Chairmanship; bestowing such a political comeback would earn him an earnest and highly perched loyalist.
With more than 20 years of seniority in the chamber, Maziarz is Western New York’s most viable contender to become Senate Majority Leader — a pivotal position of influence in Albany. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Nassau) could lose control of the chamber for only the second time in 60 years, a leadership failure likely to lead to ouster.
Maziarz is a charismatic, affable, and cunning legislator. Few observers doubt his ability to maneuver inside the caucus. Becoming Majority Leader would make Langworthy’s state chairmanship a virtual lock.
The Western and Upstate factions of the caucus have been in a perpetual rivalry with members from downstate and Long Island. Those from Western New York want their turn at the helm of the chamber. Senator Kathy Young (R-Olean), is still resented by many in Buffalo’s business community for backing Flanagan over John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), who had been rallying the upstate caucus to assert its influence.