Elizabeth Benjamin writes in the Albany Times-Union "A battle is brewing for control of the state Republican Party, with Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on one side and a former upstate GOP county chairman on the other.
Bob Smith, who led the Onondaga County Republican Party for five years, said Wednesday he is "very much leaning" toward running against Bruno's handpicked state chairman candidate, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello.
"Smith said his chief qualms about Mondello are that his candidacy originated at the top of the party, not with its grass roots, and that he wants to simultaneously serve as chairman of both the state and Nassau County parties.
"We certainly can't have a chair who serves two masters; that didn't work out so well the last time" said Smith, noting that outgoing state Chairman Stephen Minarik divided his time between the state and Monroe County GOP parties. Minarik presided over the party's loss of every statewide office on Nov. 7.
"The Republican state committee will vote for a new chairman next Thursday using a weighted vote based on turnout in the last gubernatorial election. Historically, Mondello himself has controlled the largest share -- 10.45 percent -- although the new weighted vote will be based on this year's election results and has not yet been finalized.
"We're confident that he has more than enough support to be the next state chair," said Anthony Santino, Mondello's spokesman.
"Some Republicans have also grumbled that Smith saw losses in local races while county chairman. But the same complaint has been made about Mondello, who in 2001 presided over the GOP's loss of the county executive's office to the Democrats for the first time in 30 years."