The Journal News
April 15, 2014
Eight days after saying advocates of public campaign financing “promise heaven but deliver hell,” New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said Tuesday a pilot program for the comptroller’s race “broadens the field” of potential GOP candidates.
Speaking on Binghamton’s WNBF-AM, Cox said Republicans will focus their attention on securing a comptroller candidate after their attorney general candidate is in place. John Cahill, the former environmental conservation commissioner and secretary to then-Gov. George Pataki, is expected to soon jumpinto the attorney general’s race, Cox said.
“That is our next step. There are people who have been interested, who have shown interest,” Cox said of the comptroller’s race. “Some of them have since taken themselves out of the running, such as Stefan Mychajliw.”
The state’s newly enacted $138 billion budget included a campaign finance pilot program for this year’s comptroller’s race, allowing candidates who adhere to stricter fundraising limits to have campaign donations of less than $175 matched with state funds at a 6-to-1 race.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat who has long supported public campaign financing, has said he won’t opt in to the matching program, saying the plan is being implemented too close to the election date and gives enforcement power to the oft-criticized Board of Elections.
Republicans in the Legislature had been steadfastly opposed to public campaign financing before agreeing to the plan in the budget, which some saw as a boost to the GOP as it struggled to find a candidate who could raise funds for a statewide comptroller race.
When DiNapoli announced he wouldn’t opt in to the system, Cox said “public campaign finance advocates promise heaven but deliver hell.” But in the radio interview Tuesday, Cox suggested an eventual Republican candidate may opt in for matching funds.
“It broadens the field on the Republican side for potential comptroller candidates,” Cox said. “But the commission on elections needs to act quickly to get the rules in place if it’s going to work.”