GOP Field Opens in New York Governor's Race

by | January 2, 2018

Harry Wilson, a Republican who nearly broke a Democratic hammerlock on statewide office in the 2010 state Comptroller's race, will not run for governor this year, according to the New York Daily News.

Wilson's decision to forgo a race against two-term incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo could set in motion decision-making by other Republicans weighing a race for governor.

Joel Giambra, a former Erie County executive, is considering a run for governor and it is expected that Wilson's decision will push him to announce his candidacy.

In an interview late last year, Giambra said a Wilson candidacy could reshape the gubernatorial race, but he saw nothing dissuading him from pursing the challenge.

"Am I going to ruffle some feathers? I suspect I will. I've done that my whole career. But I'm going to try to do what I think is right. I have absolutely nothing to lose," Giambra told the Times Union.

Giambra, a former Democrat, has tried to portray himself as a moderate with reservations about President Donald Trump, a Republican who polls show is unpopular with New York voters.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb was the first to officially announce a bid earlier this month. State Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro continue to consider runs.

One of the most significant challenges facing Republicans is Cuomo's fundraising edge. As of July, his campaign had $26 million. Wilson, who was expected to spend as much as $10 million of his own money, was seen as the Republican who could best compete financially.

Wilson came close to beating Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in the 2010 campaign, drawing 450,000 more votes than the GOP's gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman who was easily defeated by Cuomo in Cuomo's first successful bid for governor.

Wilson was considered by many GOP leaders as the party's best chance of capturing the governor's mansion for the first time since George Pataki won a third term in 2002.

In its report on Wilson's decision, the Daily News cited a source with direct knowledge of Wilson's thinking, saying he did not want to be away from his family, including four daughters who range in age from 9 to 16.

Wilson feared the campaign would be lengthy and that a first year in office would also be busy, the newspaper reported.

(c)2018 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)