This is distressing news. The Democrats cannot lose this electoral success talisman. But of course, the republicans want to win so they want to replace Mondello.
From Liz Benjamin...
"There's a movement afoot in certain high-level GOP circles to draft retiring Western NY Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds as a replacement for state GOP Chairman Joe Mondello.
"He has what it takes to be state chairman," one upstate Republican said. "He'll fight. He can raise money. He has the respect of all Republicans. A state chairman needs to have balls of steel, and he's got them."
This Republican was not bothered by the fact that Reynolds has been tarred by two Washington, D.C. scandals - the Mark Foley page debacle and a yet-to-be-resolved fraud case involving the NRCC, which Reynolds used to chair - noting that the chairmanship is not a publicly-elected post.
A source close to Reynolds said he is concerned about the future of the state GOP and flattered by the talk about him as chair material. But he hasn't really given much thought to his post-Congressional life as of yet.
Reynolds might be convinced to be more involved in the party, the source said, if his longtime friend and political ally, ex-Gov. George Pataki, prevailed on him to do so.
Pataki stood with Reynolds at the height of the Foley page scandal, even traveling to Western NY to stand by the Congressman's side during a difficult press conference.
A source close to Pataki said he and Reynolds have not had a conversation about the state party.
You could chalk this up to one of the fairly cyclical anti-Mondello mutterings, which seem to pop up with some regularity.
There has been a degree of discontent among the rank-and-file of the GOP, which stands to reason given the fact that the party has suffered a string of high-profile electoral losses in recent years, but that so far hasn't translated into the ousting of its leader, who is an ally of New York's top Republican, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Case-in-point: Mondello was unanimously re-elected last fall by the GOP county chairs (of which he is still one, as he continues to head up the Nassau organization) to a two-year term that will last through September 2009.
Mondello took over for former state GOP Chairman Steve Minarik (a Pataki ally) in November 2006 after Minarik, who remains Monroe County GOP chairman, stepped down in the wake of an election season that saw the Republicans lose every statewide election, a challenge against US Sen. Hillary Clinton and a number of key legislative races."