President Donald Trump‘s supporters are quick to explain that he doesn’t usually make mistakes — but when he does, it’s almost always in the vain attempt to earn the support of moderate Republicans-in-Name-Only (RINOs).
They cite Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who lobbied Trump heavily for the position of Secretary of State, and then was endorsed by the President in a carpet-bagging run for the United States Senate from Utah. Trump’s willingness to rebuild that relationship was all for naught, given Romney’s explosive vote to convict the President of high crimes, supporting his removal from office.
And the list of RINOs goes on… Rex Tillerson, John Kelly, John Bolton, and dozens more whom now, with the benefit of hindsight, seem too insignificant to mention. But the detrimental impact that those individuals — merely by refusing to be constructive team players — have done to the Trump presidency, and by extension, to American revival is enormous.
Locally, the phenomena is manifesting itself in the candidacy of Chris Jacobs, a local State Senator and the political scion of Buffalo’s wealthiest family. Jacobs is seeking the 27th congressional district and just last week received a long-planned endorsement from the eight party chairmen who comprise the largely rural and most conservative district in the State.
Following the nomination of Jacobs, Republican footsoldiers and conservative activists have pushed back fast and hard — arguing that Jacobs’ history as a ‘Never-Trumper’ during the 2016 election, during which Jacobs was running for State Senate and refused to endorse Trump, makes him a poor fit for the district.
Jacobs received a lackluster 84% rating from the State Conservative Party, compared to State Senator Rob Ortt’s 100% rate. Many of the eight party chairmen tasked with selecting the candidate had wanted to nominate Ortt, who is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and the only Senator from Western New York to have voted for Cathy Young for Republican Leader of the Senate.
Jacobs refused to vote for Young, despite a wide majority of Upstate New Yorkers comprising the Republican caucus. Jacobs voted for John Flanagan — who was favored by powerbrokers in New York City — despite Flanagan’s support of anti-gun legislation and his refusal to oppose driver’s license for illegal immigrants. Young, Western New York’s most senior member of the Senate delegation, lost that leadership battle and then subsequently resigned to take a position in academia.
The episode was seen by many party footsoldiers, who long for substantial influence in a state that is dominated by New York City special interests, as an unconscionable and illogical betrayal that exposed Jacobs’ truest loyalties. That he would organize a high-dollar fundraiser in Midtown Manhattan just last month sent shockwaves through the local political community. For decades, fundraising so aggressively in Manhattan was seen as a taboo offense against one’s local constituency — to whom a Representative is more rightly indebted.
Making matters worse, Jacobs has not been supportive of the local second amendment movement, at a time when local organizers are energizing around Libertarian nominee Duane Whitmer. If the Libertarian can siphon just 5% or 6% of the vote in the district, it will prevent the Republican from winning the seat — which is seen as the only way that Nate McMurray, a leftist Democrat who does not live in the district, could prevail victoriously.
How did a RINO seize the nomination in the State’s most conservative district?
Jacobs has been a longtime patron of Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy. So when Langworthy became State Chairman, it was seen as a boon to Jacobs’ political trajectory. The two are so close that the Erie County Republican Committee decided to lease space for its offices inside one of Jacobs’ many downtown Buffalo properties.
But that’s not the part of their relationship that has been raising most eyebrows.
Months ago, knowing that Langworthy’ handpicked successor, Karl Simmeth, acts at his behest, and knowing that Erie County controls 40% of the weighted voted among the eight party chairmen, Jacobs boldly hired Langwothy’s wife to serve as his campaign’s finance director.
Erin Baker has served in that role, presumably on a commission basis, while Jacobs has fundraised more than $1 million for the race. But Baker continues to refuse to publicly disclose her employment agreement or compensation details — which is angering activists from across the State who insist that Langworthy sold the nomination to Jacobs.
Rather than allowing the eight party chairmen of the district to independently select the party’s nominee (in which case Ortt would have prevailed), Langworthy and Baker showed up the deliberations unannounced. They lobbied each of the chairmen heavily over the course of the seven-hour deliberation, refused to recuse themselves or to disclose the obvious conflict of interest, and ‘manhandled’ the discussions from start to finish.
Some in the party have been calling on the Southern District of New York to investigate because they do not believe that local prosecutors have the political capital to charge — or even to investigate — the powerful Delaware North company and the Jacobs family.