Chris Cox: Nixon Grandson Running for CongressJanuary 28, 2010 - 6:45 AM | by: Eric Shawn
Barely one week after Republican Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts, seen by some as ending the political coattails of the Kennedy family, the grandson of the man defeated by John F. Kennedy for President in 1960 has entered the political fray.
Chris Cox…Christopher Nixon Cox.. is running for Congress. The 30 year-old is President Richard Nixon’s grandson and has announced his candidacy for the state’s First Congressional district, on Long Island. The announcement came on his campaign website, Chriscoxforcongress.com, and he promised to “revitalize Suffolk County’s economy, protect jobs from being outsourced overseas, end this period of over taxation, and make sure those tax dollars are well spent.”
The incumbent, Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop, told Fox News, “I don’t know much about Christopher… I have several people vying for the Republican designation and I would be happy to talk about my opponent extensively once I know who he or who she is.”
Chris’ mother is Nixon’s daughter Tricia, and his father is Ed Cox, current chairman of the New York State Republican party. They were married in the White House in 1971, but have spent the past decades mostly working behind the political scenes.
Chris was born in 1979 and he’s someone most Americans have never known about, but he has spent the better part of his life cutting his political teeth.
I first met Chris in November of 1993, when he walked over to the reporters to quietly observe the media mayhem in the New York Hilton ballroom on election night. He was 14 years old and I was covering the headquarters of Rudolph Giuliani for his second run for Mayor of New York City. When you’re at an election night headquarters while still in high school, on a school night no less, you know politics runs in your blood along with your family genes. Just ask the Kennedys, Bushes and Roosevelts.
His grandfather died of a stroke the next year, in 1994.
Cox graduated from Princeton and New York University Law School, and embarked on a career as a lawyer, international business advisor, and political talking head. In the past several years he has appeared as a political commentator on television and became directly involved in Republican politics, serving as a John McCain delegate and was the New York State Executive Director of McCain’s 2008 Presidential run. His father’s family has deep roots in the Congressional district now represented by four-term Democrat, Bishop.
The district is a varied one, probably one of the most diverse in the nation. It stretches from the tip of Long Island, Montauk to the east, toward the center of the New York City Long Island suburbs. It includes the tony Hamptons (and all the Hollywood glitz and Democratic political money associated with it,) as well as the fishermen of Montauk, the farms and vineyards of the Long Island North Fork, and the bedroom communities to the west that feed the Long Island Railroad to the city.
The district has also had a recent history of swapping parties.
It was represented by conservative Republican Michael Forbes, who was swept into office with the Newt Gingrich revolution in 1994. But in 2000, Forbes shocked the G.O.P. by becoming a Bill Clinton Democrat. That ensured his loss in the Democratic primary and lead to the election of Republican Felix Grucci, a member of the famed Grucci fireworks family of Bellport.
Just one term later, Grucci narrowly lost to Southampton College administrator Tim Bishop, who has handily won ever since.
Bishop has trounced his Republican opponents, the latest, in 2008, by 16 points. But the district has roughly 15% more registered Republicans than Democrats, which is why some think it will be ripe for the G.O.P. picking by a strong contender. Local elected offices are represented by a mix of Republican and Democratic politicians and the district has flip-flopped in Presidential runs. President Bush narrowly defeated John Kerry in 2004, and President Obama won by four points.
Cox says now “there is a lot of voter anger about what is going on in Washington, and to have an incumbent who has voted 97% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, is someone who is representing San Francisco much more that he is representing Suffolk County. I want to be representing Suffolk County, I want to represent Suffolk County values and that’s why I want to go to Washington.”
Bishop, who says the most important issue in the district “is the economy and jobs,” says he has “accomplished quite a bit.” He points to funding for higher education, school funding, veteran’s issues and the enviornment. He says “The best way to present myself to my constituents as a candidate or re-election is to do the job I was elected to do, and so I am focusing 100% of my energy on being the best member of Congress I can be.”
There are seven candidates vying for the Republican nod, but Cox will certainly become the best known, and perhaps nationally financed, by dint of who he is. His grandfather was only three years older than Cox is now, when in 1946 he challenged a five-term incumbent Congressman and won, launching his political career that included election to the Senate, Vice-Presidency, and finally, the Oval Office.