Local voters are irate with Senators who handed leadership post to NYC lawmaker

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has presided over the collapse of the Republican Senate caucus. When he took the helm following the indictment of former Senator Dean Skelos, there were 31 Republicans in the Senate. Following this month's elections, only 23 remain.

Ranzenhofer, Jacobs, Gallivan refuse to support WNY’s Cathy Young for Minority Leader

Late last Friday afternoon, three local Republican State Senators sold out Western New York to New York City-area power brokers who own and puppet the New York State GOP. Rather than electing Olean’s own, Senator Cathy Young, to lead the Senate Republicans as its Minority Leader, Senators Michael Ranzenhofer, Chris Jacobs, and Patrick Gallivan handed the leadership post to Suffolk County’s John Flanagan in a 14-9 vote behind closed doors.

Upstate and Western New York members of the caucus comprise a majority. If our three local Republicans insisted, a Western New Yorker would have become Senate Minority Leader. Instead, they stood down, causing speculation to swirl regarding why: What did Ranzenhofer, Jacobs, and Gallivan receive in exchange for their vote?

Two Republicans who are considering challenges to Ranzenhofer and Jacobs (the 61st and 60th districts are seen as the party’s most likely pickup opportunities in 2020) are privately calling local Republicans operatives who are baffled by the Senators’ behavior.  They have been quickly building support for an organized opposition effort in both districts, particularly among Second Amendment activists.

Senator Chris Jacobs has emerged as the State Senator who is most vulnerable to either a Democrat or a primary challenger.  Observers expect both for the 60th district in 2020, when the chamber will be elected to conduct reapportionment in 2021.

“For years, they’ve told us that Western New York benefits from a Republican-controlled State Senate because Upstate members comprise a larger share of that caucus. But they have the numbers and they just handed over our region’s political influence to New York City,” explains one member of the Shooters Committee on Public Education.

SCOPE intends to field candidates against Senators Young and Gallivan in 2020.

Many Republicans worry that Democrats will take the 60th and 61st districts next year, trusting that local voters want representatives who put their interests first – people who are willing to stand up to New York City power brokers, not vote them into leadership at our region’s expense.

“I worry that voters are going to choose a Democrat who will fight for them over a submissive Republican who can’t find the courage to speak up and insist that Western New York deserves a seat at the table, too,” he argues. “We were sold out. Now we’re just waiting to find out what was on the price tag.”

Some Republicans have been lobbying Assemblyman Erik Bohen, a Democrat who is often endorsed by the local GOP, to consider the 60th or the 59th district races.

It’s unclear whether public outcry will be enough to convince the thee Senators, who are now being derisively referred to among local operatives as “The Three Cucks of Western New York,” to re-evaluate their support of Flanagan.


Democrat Erik Bohen served in the Assembly following a special election to fill the seat of Micky Kearns upon his election to the County Clerk’s office.  He attracts broad bipartisan backing and is often endorsed by area Republicans.  

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