ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Marc Molinaro, the Hudson Valley politician who jumped into the race for the Republican nomination for New York governor after initially saying he wouldn’t run, announced Thursday that he has enough support from county GOP leaders statewide to win the party’s nod at next month’s state convention.
After announcing three more county GOP leaders had endorsed him to bring the total to 48, the 42-year-old Dutchess County executive told reporters outside the state Capitol media room a floor above Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office that he was “humbled” to be running for governor.
Molinaro said he was raised by a single mother who “is still pinching herself” over her son’s rise from teenage mayor of his upstate hometown to candidate for governor.
“In fairness, I’m not what you’d might consider the most likely of candidates, to have gone from food stamps to the gubernatorial candidate of a major political party in one of the greatest places on earth,” he said.
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State Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse also sought the GOP nomination, but on Wednesday he said he was suspending campaign activities. Joseph Holland, an aide to former Gov. George Pataki, is still seeking the GOP nomination. The Republican state convention is being held May 23-24 in New York City.
Cuomo, a two-term incumbent with a $30 million campaign war chest, and actress and political newcomer Cynthia Nixon are vying for the Democratic nomination. Whichever Democrat takes on the GOP’s candidate in November, the Republican will face a daunting task in a state where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 2-1.
Molinaro was considered a promising GOP candidate for governor heading into 2018, but in early January the married father of three said he wouldn’t seek the Republican nomination. He changed his mind when GOP leaders statewide began urging to him reconsider, saying he was a more viable candidate than DeFrancisco, a veteran lawmaker with little name recognition beyond Syracuse and Albany.
Molinaro, a former state assemblyman, was elected mayor of the village of Tivoli when he was 19, making him the youngest mayor in the nation. He said having worked in elected offices at the local, county and state level gives him a keen sense of the concerns New Yorkers grapple with, from high taxes to providing for their families.
“Food stamps put food on our table many nights,” he said. “I know what it’s like to struggle in the state of New York.”