Sen. Thomas Libous, who orchestrated the Republicans’ return to power in 2010, is stepping down as his party’s campaign chairman in the Senate while he fights cancer.
The Southern Tier Republican will serve as adviser to the new Senate Republican Campaign Chairwoman Catherine Young of Olean in next year’s legislative elections.
Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos praised Libous, 60, for helping the GOP return to its only bastion of power in state government despite a Democratic enrollment advantage of nearly 2 to 1.
Libous is the deputy majority leader, where he runs the Senate floor debates and helps develop and execute Republican strategy. As he battles cancer, he says that he’ll decide on his political future in the coming months.
Democrats held the majority during a tumultuous term in 2008 to 2010, the first interruption of Republican control of the Senate in decades. But under Libous, the Republicans raised more campaign cash and won the majority in 2010. Republicans won enough seats in 2012 to retain the majority in the unprecedented power-sharing agreement with the Independent Democrats.
“By stepping down as Senate Republican Campaign Committee chair now, Senator Libous can focus on his health and his constituents and continue to be a strong champion for the Southern Tier,” Skelos said. “Senator Libous continues to receive extensive chemotherapy to fight his ongoing battle with cancer.”
Young is chairwoman of the Senate housing committee and the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. She was first elected to the chamber in 2005 and continues to be one of its few women members.