ALBANY — Republican Brian Kolb surprisingly ended his gubernatorial campaign Friday.
Kolb (R-Canandaigua), the Assembly minority leader, was the first Republican to jump into the contest and had scooped up the most endorsements so far. His decision to drop out comes shortly after the entry of Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) into the contest.
In a statement, Kolb said he had second thoughts about spending “nine months on the road” campaigning and that he was quitting with a “heavy heart.”
“As I left my home before dawn this morning, saying goodbye to my incredible wife, I knew that I’d be spending the next week, the week after and every week for at least the next nine months on the road, away from my loving family,” Kolb said. “That moment helped put what is truly important in life back into perspective.”
Kolb, 65, reportedly had been scheduled to participate in a GOP candidates’ debate this weekend with DeFrancisco, former Erie County executive Joel Giambra and Joe Holland, who was an official in the administration of former Gov. George Pataki.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he expects to run for re-election.
Kolb has served in the Assembly since 2000, representing a Finger Lakes district that includes Ontario County and part of Seneca County. He has been Assembly GOP leader since 2009.