With his chemotherapy treatments expected to continue for the foreseeable future, Sen. Thomas Libous said his decision to step down as chairman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee came down to a matter of time management.
“I am going to be on some sort of chemotherapy or treatment for a very long time,” Libous said Monday in a telephone interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “The day-to-day responsibilities of the campaign committee—to do it the way I have done it the last five years and would want to do it—would just be too much with the number of trips I have to take to (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan).
He continued: “Taking care of my constituents is my first priority, second only to my health.”
Libous officially stepped down from his SRCC post Monday, but will remain an advisor to the committee. Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, will take his place.
In June, Libous told Gannett’s Albany Bureau that he was undergoing a second round of chemotherapy treatment after the cancer that had started in his prostate spread to his lungs last year.
Libous oversaw the Senate GOP’s campaign efforts in 2010 and 2012. He helped regain a Republican majority in 2010 after Democrats had taken control of the chamber in 2008. Despite losing seats in 2012, Republicans entered a power-sharing agreement with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference to maintain a piece of control.
“I think I did a pretty good job. I brought us back from the minority,” Libous said. “We didn’t totally lose the majority last year. In a very, very difficult year, we held on and were able to put a coalition together. So I think I did a pretty good job. I’m leaving the committee with almost $3 million on hand, and I’m pretty proud of the efforts.”
Libous said he has given no thought to giving up his role as deputy leader of the Senate GOP, which requires him to run the floor proceedings in the chamber. As far as his own re-election, Libous said he doesn’t see “an immediate change as far as my own political future goes.”
“My goal is to focus on my health and my district, and that’s where my head and my heart is,” Libous said.
(AP File Photo)