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.
“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.