Although one of the most unusual Republican primaries of this cycle is over, the feud and proxy war that underpins it will only move from upstate New York to the halls of Congress.
The gap between Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-highest-ranked House Republican, and her nemesis, New York State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, started months ago. Back when Stefanik was the subject of buzz in GOP circles as a potential challenger to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2021, Langworthy supported Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY), now the candidate, without consulting her.
With her increased national profile, Stefanik felt scorned by Langworthy who was watching her, said a longtime New York GOP operative familiar with both camps.
“Stefanik obviously isn’t a huge fan of Langworthy,” the agent, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations within the party, told The Daily Beast. “She thought Lee Zeldin conspired or worked with Langworthy for this endorsement.”
So when Langworthy decided to run for Congress for the seat vacated by retired Rep. Tom Reed, Stefanik reciprocated by endorsing the Buffalo businessman. Carl Paladin before Langworthy officially announced it, bringing the simmering feud into public view.
“She was sending a flare like, hey, for your information, if you come in, I’ll be behind Carl,” a Republican campaign veteran familiar with the tiff told the Beast. “It’s only the end of a chapter in this Langworthy-Stefanik brawl, or so I think. And it will only get worse if Lee doesn’t cross the finish line in November.
Just a week before Langworthy officially entered the race, Stefanik tweeted a “MAJOR NY ENDORSEMENT” from Paladino, the 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York and die-hard MAGA fan with a history of Racist Thoughts and transmit bestiality porn to local legislators.
Stefanik’s endorsement of the Buffalo businessman, long known to be a liability on the campaign trail, tested the limits of her influence in her home state against Capitol Hill, where she became leader earlier this year. Stefanik replaced GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (WY), who was removed from her post following her refusal to support Trump’s fraudulent allegations of election rigging and a host of other unforgivable sins against the current Republican leadership. from the room.
“I believe Stefanik got upset last year when this process unfolded, and she thought Langworthy was just pushing Zeldin, which he wasn’t…” the new agent said. Yorkers close to the pair of rivals. “Honestly, I think [Langworthy] was pumping his own chest, trying to be like, I’m the guy, I’m the big kingmaker.
Langworthy also hasn’t dispelled the breakup rumors, according to the party insider.
Paladino failed to defeat Langworthy, but along the way he racked up another series of blunders that would have caused many other high-profile politicians to head for the exits. Not Stefanik.
“This is just the end of a chapter in this Langworthy-Stefanik brawl.”
Even when audio came out in June of a 2021 radio call where longtime Trump ally called Adolf Hitler “a man of action” and “the kind of leader we need today” — for which the candidate later apologized — Stefanik stuck by his side, placing himself at the center of a power struggle within New York’s GOP.
“Each time Elise got up and swung for Carl,” a source close to Trump told The Daily Beast. “It was beyond expectation. Carl comes to the campaign without a filter – he has more experience than before, but he still has no filter.
She also lent at least two of her campaign consultants to the Paladino campaign and provided “strategic” input, the Trump confidant added.
Less than a week before the primary, Paladino speculated that Attorney General Merrick Garland “probably should be executed” for the raid on Mar-a-Lago, according to the Buffalo News.
With Paladino not conceding Thursday morning, the Associated Press and other media reported the run for Langworthy early Wednesday morning.
Neither Stefanik nor the Langworthy camps responded to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Susan McNeil, Fulton County GOP chairwoman and vice president for the North Country region under the state party, is one of many state Republicans in favor of temporarily removing Langworthy to allow a president acting to lead the party as he prepares for his campaign’s general election.
She also praised Stefanik and expressed hope that the couple will bury the hatchet.
“She’s classy, and there’s a reason she’s the third-highest-ranked Republican in the nation,” McNeil told the Beast. “If everyone on the other side is smart, they’ll recognize that and say, hats off, let’s work as a team.”
Trumpworld’s reaction on Wednesday did not have the same aspirations.
“It’s clearly going to continue,” the Trumpworld insider said of the feud. “The point is, Elise is in the lead, and Nick will be front row on an uninspiring House subcommittee.”
The state party chairman managed to anger some senior Republicans in his decision to run for Congress while ostensibly guiding the party’s efforts to win the gubernatorial race for the first time since George Pataki in 2002.
“He’s jumping into this race for Congress when we have the best gubernatorial opportunity we’ve had since Pataki, and we have a state president now running for Congress?” the GOP operative told the Beast, adding that Stefanik had been “quietly supported” by Republicans who complained about Langworthy’s congressional run.
If Langworthy wins in November, he will join Stefanik in the House and, according to the person close to Trump, should tread carefully.
“Elise Stefanik has been on the Langworthy lot for a few months now,” the source close to Trump said. “Starting January, Langworthy will be at home in Washington.”