ALBANY — The Republicans lost yet another potential candidate for governor after Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said Thursday he will not seek to challenge Gov. Cuomo this year.
While I believe that state government can be a servant of the people when run well and with integrity, it’s just not the right time for me to seek the governorship,” Molinaro said in an email to party leaders.
“I will focus on the important work we are accomplishing in Dutchess County, continue traveling the state advocating for those with disabilities, and my wife, Corinne, and I will continue raising our young family.”
Molinaro’s decision came four days after the Daily News reported that wealthy business expert Harry Wilson, who many Republicans considered their best option to take on Cuomo, decided not to enter the race because of family considerations.
Like Wilson, Molinaro has young children, including a 1-year-old son. Many consider him an up-and-comer with a bright future for the party.
He told The News on Monday that he was struggling with the same considerations as Wilson did about the impact entering the race would have on his wife and three kids.
“It’s the same considerations any responsible adult or parent should have,” Molinaro said. With Molinaro out, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra are the only Republicans to declare they are seeking the nomination for governor.
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco is also considering a run. Republicans acknowledge they face an uphill battle against Cuomo, who in July reported having $ 26 million in his campaign kitty and whose poll numbers remain solid in heavily blue New York.
But they also say unhappiness upstate, lingering corruption trials involving several former Cuomo aides and associates, issues with the subway and a projected multibillion-dollar budget deficit makes the governor vulnerable.
State party leaders from around the state are scheduled to meet in Albany on Monday to discuss the governor’s race. After Wilson dropped out, Erie County Republican Leader Nicholas Langworthy said the party needs to do a “hard reset” on the process to find a gubernatorial candidate that should include looking for potential candidates who have not publicly expressed an interest in running.
Meanwhile, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced Thursday he has decided against seeking the Democratic nomination for an open state Senate seat, paving the way for Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer to be the county Democratic party’s pick when Cuomo calls a special election to fill the seat vacated when former state Sen. George Latimer was sworn in on Jan. 1 as the new Westchester County executive.
The battle for Latimer’s old seat could determine which party gets to control the state Senate.