A sitting congressman, three county executives and a former candidate for comptroller are among the Republicans considering a run for governor in 2014, according to the party’s New York chairman.
GOP Chairman Ed Cox (pictured) on Monday floated the names of five people who could challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year as Republicans ratchet up their criticism of the first-term Democrat. (The New York Post first reported the potential list today, though most of the names have been floated by Cox before.)
Among the potential candidates, according to Cox, are four from the Hudson Valley: Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Rep. Chris Gibson of Kinderhook and Harry Wilson, a Scarsdale resident who ran for state comptroller in 2010.
“All of those names are taking a look at a run, one way or another,” Cox said in a telephone interview. “This is serious.”
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, the fifth person mentioned by Cox, won the 2010 Republican primary for lieutenant governor. He lost in the general election as part of Carl Paladino’s gubernatorial ticket, when Cuomo cruised to election with 63 percent of the vote.
Three of those floated by Cox — Astorino, Gibson and Molinaro — issued similar statements through separate spokespeople, expressing flattery with the speculation but insisting they’re focused on their current job. None of them ruled out a possible run.
“It’s flattering,” said David Catalfamo, a campaign advisor for Molinaro, a former assemblyman who was elected to his current office in 2011. “People think that the good work he’s doing in transforming Dutchess County deserves notice and praise, but Marc is clearly focused on the job he’s got and there are a lot of challenges ahead.”
Astorino has been mentioned most frequently as a potential candidate for governor, and Cox pointed to his ability to hold office in a Democratic, suburban as a plus in a statewide race. He faces re-election for his current post in November.
“It’s very flattering, but we have our hands full here in Westchester,” said Astorino spokesman Bill O’Reilly, who has also served as a consultant for the state GOP and for Wilson.
Wilson and Edwards could not be reached for comment Monday.
Stephanie Valle, a spokeswoman for Gibson, said the congressman’s values “appeal to New Yorkers who are frustrated and seeking a better direction for the state.” Gibson’s district runs from the Capital Region south to Dutchess and Ulster counties, stretching as far west as Broome County.
“While the Congressman is clearly flattered that his name has been mentioned as a candidate for Governor, his focus remains on serving the residents of the 19th District,” Valle said in a statement.
(AP file photo)