New York Republicans selected Ed Cox on Monday to return to the state chairmanship after the party scored better-than-expected results in last November’s elections.

A son-in-law of the late former President Richard Nixon, Cox is a familiar face for Republicans in New York and brings connections to party donors.

Cox’s return to the chairman post was unexpected, as Republicans like state Assemblyman Chris Tague, Rockland County GOP Chairman Lawrence Garvey and former candidate for state attorney general Michael Henry vied for the post and promised to build on the momentum built in the last four years.

But over the last several weeks, Cox had been able to build momentum by securing the backing of key Republican county leaders.

On Monday, Cox's former rivals conceded he had the support to return to the chairmanship and wanted to coalesce around him in a display of party unity. 

"If we do our jobs, it will be a foundation for the next generation of Republican leaders," Tague said. "No one person is bigger than our party." 

Cox will replace U.S. Rep. Nick Langworthy as chairman. Langworthy was elected last year to a western New York House seat.

Langworthy, who built up support to replace Cox four years ago, praised his predecessor-turned-successor as chair.  

“He’s going to make an amazing leader and we thank Ed for stepping up,” Langworthy told a gathering of Republicans at hotel in suburban Albany.

Langworthy called Cox a patriot and credited his efforts during last year’s legislative redistricting process that led to a court drawing lines that ultimately aided Republicans last year.

“We need to give him all of the support of this organization,” Langworthy said.

Cox, who had served as the party’s chairman from 2009 to 2019, is returning to a leadership post at a party that remains heavily outnumbered by Democrats and out of power in Albany and in all statewide offices.

But Republicans were able to pick up key seats in New York’s Hudson Valley region as well as on Long Island. Their victories were credited with helping the GOP regain a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, changing the course of power in Washington and the federal government.

The party’s 2022 candidate for governor, former Rep. Lee Zeldin, came within 5 percentage points of unseating Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul last year.

"I think we can be competitive across the board. I think we've demonstrated that," Langworthy said in an interview. "We need to keep the momentum alive and kicking."

But Cox still faces challenges. New Yok Republicans outnumbered by Democratic voters as well as voters who have chosen to not register in a party. The party remains shut out of power statewide and in Albany. 

"We need to build the party to a place where we can challenge the Democrats who have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature and elect the officials we need so we're a strong second party and stand up for the things we believe in," Cox told reporters. 

Cox for now is not taking a side in the coming Republican presidential nominating contest, either, as former President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, launches a third campaign. 

"We want every presidential candidate to come here to New York, to campaign here, to speak at the dinners, to help us build the party here," he said. "To do that, I need to be neutral here in New York."

And when it comes to controversial Rep. George Santos, Cox called him a fabulist, but stopped short of calling for his resignation.