GOP Patriarch Has Passed Away

Report: GOP Patriarch Has Passed Away

An 88 year old man known as the patriarch of the New York State Republican Party has passed away at his home surrounded by his family.

Barclay’s Legacy

H. Douglas Barclay, who was also a lawyer and a prominent local politician, will be remembered by his constituents “as a leader, fighter and advocate,” according to his son, Will Barclay, who followed in his father’s footsteps and is now serving as the leader of the New York State Assembly’s minority.

“I’ve always looked up to my father,” Will Barclay said.


Douglas Barclay served as a New York State Senator for 11 terms, and spent 52 years of his life in politics. He was the chairman of the Republican conference in the Senate, and also chaired the committee on the judiciary and the select task force on court reorganization.

When he made the announcement that he planned to retire from the Senate back in 1984, he received a phone call from then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. In the call, Bush attempted to talk him out of retirement, but Barclay was reluctant to change his mind. Bush then asked the senator what he planned to do next.

“I want to work for you, politically,” Barclay told Bush.


Barclay then went on to help Bush plan his path to the presidency, and served as the vice chairman of Bush’s presidential campaign in New York in 1988, then as his chairman for his 1992 presidential campaign in New York.

Later in life, Barclay served as the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador during George W. Bush’s presidency, from 2004 to 2006.


As the news of his passing reached Twitter, several Republicans posted their condolences.

Very saddened to hear this news of Doug Barclay’s passing. Prayers and condolences for @WillABarclay and his family and community at this difficult time,” wrote New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, sharing a news article about the GOP patriarch.

“I’m saddened tonight to learn of the passing of my friend, former NYS Senator and U.S. Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay. A lifelong public servant, he will be remembered as a passionate and unwavering advocate for Upstate New York,” wrote New York Congressman John Katko.

In a subsequent tweet, Katko added a personal memory about the GOP patriarch, writing: “When I first contemplated running for Congress, Doug provided guidance and encouragement. He was a leader in our party and a true friend. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and admired him. Robin and I extend our deepest condolences to Will and the entire Barclay family.”

Former Republican Governor of New York George Pataki also shared his condolences, writing: “New York has lost a great American. My condolences to Doug’s son Will Barclay and his family ⁦@WillABarclay Douglas Barclay, 88: Towering figure in state, local politics passes away over weekend.”

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