Lee Zeldin, left, Harry Wilson, Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani...

Lee Zeldin, left, Harry Wilson, Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani have qualified to run in the Republican primary for governor on June 28. Credit: Newsday File

ALBANY — Republicans appear headed for a four-way primary for governor after the State Board of Elections determined Monday that Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani qualified for the ballot over the objections of backers of Rep. Lee Zeldin, the party's official designee.

The board still must formally certify the ballot, a step it is expected to take Wednesday.

With the BOE ruling Monday, the Republican primary is expected to be the most crowded statewide GOP primary in recent memory.

It will include Zeldin (R-Shirley), along with three others who gathered enough petition signatures to qualify:

  • Astorino, a former Westchester County executive and the GOP’s 2014 candidate for governor.
  • Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
  • Businessman Harry Wilson, the party’s 2010 candidate for state comptroller.

On the Democratic side, Gov. Kathy Hochul is facing Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate, in the June 28 primary.

Zeldin was the choice of the delegates at the Republican convention earlier this year and has the endorsements of nearly all the GOP county chairs.

But other GOP candidates said their success in qualifying for the ballot shows rank-and-file party members aren’t convinced about Zeldin.

“There’s going to be a choice — despite what some of the party leaders wanted,” Astorino told Newsday after leaving the elections board meeting in downtown Albany on Monday.

“The Republican voters are going to make their choice on who is the most electable, trusted, experienced conservative with the record to prove it … We’re going to win this primary and we’re best equipped to take on Kathy Hochul.”

“I’m very excited, obviously, with the findings today,” Andrew Giuliani said.

Of his campaign's gathering of the 15,000 necessary petition signatures, Giuliani said: “To be able to do this, I think, really shows that we are the candidate of the people … It was another great day for the Giuliani campaign.”

“Congressman Zeldin is very much looking forward to settling this score at the ballot box,” Zeldin spokeswoman Katie Vincentz said in an email.

Vincentz noted Zeldin also has the Conservative Party endorsement.

Wilson previously had submitted more than 15,000 signatures.

The last Republican primary for governor was in 2010, when Carl Paladino, a Buffalo business owner, routed former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio, who was the pick of the GOP convention.

Not all candidates seeking to run in June received the election board’s approval Monday.

The board disqualified a number of signatures gathered for Michael Grace, the former Yorktown Town supervisor and Astorino’s chosen running mate — leaving Grace about 171 short of the 15,000 signatures necessary.

Grace is expected to challenge the board’s determination in court.

For now, the board’s ruling leaves Alison Esposito, Zeldin’s running mate, as the lone Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

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From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

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