Sir John Dalberg-Acton once declard, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
And one does not have to look any further than the single-party rule in Albany, New York.
The corrupt three-term governor, Andrew Cuomo is engulfed in a mixed-cocktail of scandal.
New Yorkers are now poised to elect an ethically sober candidate.
The governor's fiduciary malpractice reflects a broad range from fiscal mismanagement and credible sexual harassment allegations, to using government employees to help draft his book on pandemic lessons learned --- amid a nursing home death toll resulting from his executive order.
But inexplicably, both New York Democratic-led state legislative chambers embolden Gov. Cuomo to stay in office by failing to impeach him.
All of which led to a public outcry to elect Cuomo’s replacement in the next midterm election. Although election law will require a candidate to be formally nominated in February 2022, the new Republican Party chairman, Nick Langworthy has a winning attitude and strategy to regain the highest political seat in the empire state.
Langworthy’s strategy is to back a gubernatorial candidate by midyear 2021.
Doing so would be a deviation from the party’s electoral pattern but give a candidate sufficient time to build a credible and well-funded campaign.
Why is it important to break the precedent of a late start?
In 2018 Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro launched his campaign six months before the election giving him a short runway to launch a competitive race and vastly trimmed lead time to raise sufficient funds.
But to Molinaro's credit, he stepped forward to fill the void of a sparse gubernatorial candidate pool at the time and managed to get 2.2 million votes.
However, it still wasn’t enough to unseat Cuomo.
So, while adhering to COVID protocols, Langworthy recently held a meeting that convened county chairs in Albany to host gubernatorial candidates seeking to lead New York out of its fiscal abyss and lawlessness displayed by Cuomo.
It’s a crowded field this early and that’s a good thing.
The individuals are comprised of a mix of elected officials and former party leaders to include:
Hon. Rob Astorino (former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate)
Hon. Andrew Giuliani (former Trump White House appointee and son of Mayor Giuliani)
Hon. Joe Holland (former Governor Pataki appointee)
Hon. Marcus Molinaro (current Dutchess County Executive and 2018 gubernatorial candidate)
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. (undeclared gubernatorial candidate)
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. (declared gubernatorial candidate)
This is a great group to harvest from but it’s a delicate dynamic and New York's GOP cannot afford internal friction given the three to one voter registration disadvantage.
And to make it challenging, the future candidate will be expected to coalesce the never Trumpers with the 45th president's devoted supporters while appealing to Independents, Libertarians, and moderate Democrats.
So, what is the best way to reach consensus while giving candidates time to raise funds to launch a legitimate statewide campaign?
Whether it’s political party operations or office politics, the approach to reaching consensus while avoiding groupthink requires a similar approach.
Perhaps taking a page from a business playbook used in corporate America to garner support and reach amicable compromise will minimize any negative political blowback.
First, it's important to identify at least five critical and objective criteria to evaluate candidates. An objective and transparent process will remove bias, personal agendas, and self-interest — the very things New Yorkers find abhorrent in Governor Cuomo.
But now the hard part: selecting the decision criteria.
While the future is unpredictable, the candidates need to have a proven track record of raising money and already have name ID with voters.
Also, the ideal person must have the ability to unite Republicans and appeal to Democrats.
Given New York’s downward financial spiral, the gubernatorial hopeful must have a high level of fiscal competence and understand the importance of procuring a vibrant business environment.
And support public safety with common-sense reforms to stave the rise in crime.
Whoever gets the nod, the person should have an inclusive message in non-traditional areas to build statewide voter support.
The two leading heavyweights in the candidate pool are Reps. Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin.
Stefanik is a firebrand that represents the NY-21 congressional district since 2015. She has hammered Cuomo from the beginning and has a national brand that complements her ability to fundraise.
Zeldin represents the N.Y.-1 congressional district. He’s a household name providing frequent commentary on national conservative TV networks that address working-class issues.
And his fundraising prowess didn’t go unnoticed. Zeldin has raised $2.5 million in the ten days since he announced his candidacy.
Additionally, Zeldin comes with a huge and well-developed base in Long Island — an area critical to a Republican comeback.
While the New York GOP has good candidates, there is one caveat.
Beware of the usual suspects who would capitalize on a fierce primary battle to sew discord for selfish reasons and exhaust campaign funds that could be used for the general election.
Yes, I’m talking about those who would lose a huge payday: consultants.
Hence, consultants need to place the future of New Yorkers over personal pockets.
In all, there is so much riding on this election that is important to every voter.
If common sense government doesn’t return now, then we may see the fall of the Empire State.
Langworthy understands this and his early start is paving the way for a competitive general election.
John Burnett is the Managing Director and Founder of 1 Empire Group consulting firm and a business executive with over 20 years of experience in the financial services and energy pricing industries. A veteran of politics, John is an official with the New York State Republican Party and ran for New York City Comptroller in 2013. An adjunct professor at Hampton University and New York University, John’s editorials on business, the economy, policy, and politics have appeared in HuffPost, U.S. News and World Report, and Washington Examiner. He is also a frequent guest commentator on Fox News, Fox Business News, New York 1, and PIX 11 News. John holds a B.S. with honors from New York University and an MBA from The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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