ALBANY — Some Republicans are quietly re-evaluating a potential run for governor by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and the executive is listening.
“There are certainly a lot of people around the state that are encouraging him to reconsider,” said David Catalfamo, political spokesman for Molinaro, on Monday. Catalfamo declined further comment on Molinaro’s plans.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) ended his campaign Feb. 9, citing family concerns about the time such an effort would require.
Since then, Molinaro who suspended his exploratory campaign Jan. 5, has more actively criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Twitter. A “Draft Molinaro” Twitter handle was created in February.
State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra continue to seek the Republican nomination. In addition to Kolb, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the 2014 GOP nominee, and financier Harry Wilson have discontinued their efforts.
“Marc Molinaro is a good public servant, and Senator DeFrancisco considers him a friend and long-term ally,” said DeFrancisco campaign spokesman William F.B. O’Reilly said Monday. “What’s most important is that Republicans rally around a single candidate as soon as possible to beat Governor Cuomo in November — John DeFrancisco is the strongest candidate to do that.”
O’Reilly added that Cuomo “with every passing day is proving himself an embarrassment to New York, ethically and economically.”
The sentiment is similar to Molinaro’s busy February and Cuomo-aimed tweets. Molinaro attacked Cuomo’s 2018-19 proposed budget and cited the corruption trial underway in Manhattan in which one of Cuomo’s longtime family friends and former top aide, Joseph Percoco, is on trial.
“A state government broken, honesty & decency gone, democracy diminished & public trust lost,” Molinaro tweeted. “We can do better,” then added the hashtag: #PurposeBeforePolitics.
“Given the untenable, anti-New York positions of the GOP’s current de facto nominee, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are exploring other alternatives,” said Geoff Berman, executive dirctor of the state Democratic Party. “Unfortunately for them, Molinaro is more of the same.”
Cuomo’s campaign spokesman had no immediate comment.
Molinaro has been the county executive for Dutchess County since 2012. Before that he served in the state Assembly and began his political career as mayor of the village of Tivoli, where he served more than a decade