NEW YORK NOW – Republicans know they can’t win competitive races in next year’s elections on a far-right platform, so they’re developing a strategy to reach voters across the political spectrum in an effort to elect a new generation of leaders from the party.
State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a recent interview that the party plans to campaign on issues that affect all New Yorkers, regardless of their political leanings.
“It’s running on a common sense agenda that can bring people together of all party affiliations,” Langworthy said on New York NOW. “We know we can’t run with some right-wing agenda that has any sort of extreme tendencies.”
Langworthy said Republicans plan to focus on two issues at the top of New Yorkers’ minds: crime and the cost of living in New York.
Crime rates were up in more than half of the state’s counties last year compared to 2019, according to public data from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The number of so-called index crimes, which is a sampling of charges considered to be indicators of the overall crime rate in New York, had been on the decline each year over the past decade.
But that changed last year, when the number of index crimes ticked up. Overall, there was a 1.5% increase in index crimes, with some categories, like rape, still on the decline, according to DCJS. Those drops balanced out categories that saw an increase in 2020.
The number of murders was up by about 45% last year compared to 2019, while motor vehicle theft saw an increase of 54%. The number of burglaries also increased by about 16%. Changes in other categories weren’t statistically significant.
The overall number of index crimes was down last year compared to 2011, but that’s mostly due to a large drop in property crimes, like burglaries and larcenies.
Other violent crimes, like murder and reported rape, had either dropped or plateaued over the last decade. But last year’s numbers show higher rates of those crimes last year than what was reported in 2011.
Data on crime rates during the first six months of this year haven’t been published by the state, but anecdotal evidence has shown that violence continues to be a problem in the state’s major metropolitan areas.
Langworthy said that’s going to be a top issue for Republicans on the campaign trail next year, including the party’s nominee for governor, but also for candidates seeking to be elected to the state Legislature.
“That is going to be a first and foremost issue for us, as we put forth a common sense agenda for New York, is how to make New Yorkers safe again,” Langworthy said.
Republicans also plan to campaign on a promise to lower the cost of living in New York, where the population has grown at a slower pace over the last decade than other large states, like Texas and Florida, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Langworthy said Republicans would continue to make the pitch to voters that having Democrats in control of both houses of the state Legislature and the governor’s office has done little to lower the cost of living for residents in New York.
“Let’s get back to a centrist government that can lower the costs, lower the regulatory burdens, attract businesses, attract opportunity,” Langworthy said.
Democrats took control of the state Legislature in the 2018 elections, and grew their ranks again in 2020. To take back control of the State Senate, Republicans would need to win at least 12 seats next year that are currently held by Democrats.
Langworthy said part of their strategy to meet that goal would be to recruit a new generation of leaders in the Republican party to run for office. It’s that generational change, he said, that will help the party survive in a state where registered Democrats largely outnumber Republicans.
“We are going to continue to look for the best talented field that we could put forward in those races,” Langworthy said.
“You know, putting a youthful face forward, I think is very important to us — finding that next generation of leaders that can say, you know, this isn’t about the way things were, it’s about the way things need to be going forward.”
Elections for the state Legislature, governor’s office, and other statewide officials will be held next year, with a primary scheduled for June in races where one develops.