Since our last Albany Update on the 2018 campaign for Governor of New York, the status of the race has completely changed.
On the Republican side, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro (pictured)—who had flirted with the idea of a run but decided against it several weeks ago—has reconsidered. Apparently, a campaign by some Republican New York assemblymembers and others to encourage Molinaro to run for Governor had its intended result. While Molinaro has not yet formally announced his candidacy, his campaign apparatus has signaled that he is back in the saddle. Molinaro has already received endorsements from some Republican county chairs and at least one Conservative Party chair.
The other two remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates are Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-DeWitt) and former Pataki administration appointee Joseph Holland. At this time, it appears likely that the race for the Republican nomination will become a one-on-one contest between Molinaro, 42, and DeFrancisco, 71. That contest will feature a contrast between Molinaro’s youth and “Albany outsider” status and Sen. DeFrancisco’s experience and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of state government.
In other news, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra—whose campaign had struggled to get off the ground—has abandoned his quest for the Republican nomination and announced that he will run for Governor as an independent. Giambra has also floated the notion of seeking the Reform Party’s support, which could siphon away some voters from the eventual GOP candidate.
On the Democratic side, actress Cynthia Nixon—who has been rumored to be considering a primary challenge against Gov. Andrew Cuomo—has hired two campaign staffers. While this move doesn’t necessarily mean that Nixon will run in 2018, it certainly means that she is thinking about it. For his part, far-left New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio predicts that the Governor will receive a “‘spirited’” primary challenge this year.