'He's Going to Surprise A Lot of People': GOP Picks Their Candidate for New York Governor

by | May 24, 2018

By Michael Gormley

With a charge that Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had brought corruption and shame to New Yorkers while driving the young to seek jobs in other states, Marc Molinaro accepted the Republican nomination for governor Wednesday and asked: "Are you ready to believe in New York again?"

Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, promised a "bold property tax cut" and an end to "corporate welfare" that he said Cuomo has used in multibillion-dollar economic development programs for corporations, at the expense of everyday New Yorkers who pay some of the nation's highest taxes.

Republicans also nominated Julie Killian, former deputy mayor of Rye, to run for lieutenant governor. "We live in a state when we're better off when Albany is in recess rather than in session," Killian said in accepting her nomination, "where women are praised at the microphone, then groped behind closed doors."

Molinaro quoted former Republican Gov. Teddy Roosevelt, as well as former Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, in calling for a new Republican initiative that includes "liberals, conservatives, and moderates: gay, straight, black, white, Asian, Latino, young, old, married and unmarried, to those able to pay their bills and those struggling too hard."

"I know what it means to struggle. I know what it's like to need a helping hand. And, I care about making your life a little better, a little fuller and a lot easier," he said. "Teddy Roosevelt was right. We don't say it enough. 'Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.' Indeed."

"Humility," Molinaro said, "is something I learned as a boy. It's hard not to feel it when the cereal you shovel into your mouth before school is paid for with food stamps."

After it was pointed out that half the seats in the convention area were not filled, former Gov. George Pataki, who was treated as a conquering hero at the convention for his 1994 upset of then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, said, "They don't know Marc, but they didn't know me. When they get to know him over the next five months, I think he's going to surprise a lot of people."

Molinaro also invoked the late Democratic governor against his son. "What Mario Cuomo was saying was that one should seek public office to do good, not to feed one's ego or career needs," Molinaro said. "Bullies and megalomaniacs need not apply."

Cuomo is facing a challenge for the Democratic nomination by activist-actress Cynthia Nixon, who also has the liberal Working Families Party line.

Absent in Molinaro's speech was any reference to President Donald Trump, who is supported by about 57 percent of Republicans in New York but is unpopular with most Democrats and with voters not enrolled in a party.

"New Yorkers want somebody who is going to be the governor of the state, and not somebody who looks to Washington for direction," said Pataki in an interview after Molinaro's speech. "And I think that's the right thing to do."

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