Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, whose county neighbors Putnam, announced his bid for New York governor last week as the Republican begins an underdog campaign in the heavily Democratic state.
Molinaro, who made his announcement on April 2, will go into the state GOP convention in hopes of getting the Republican endorsement over state Sen. John DeFrancisco. DeFrancisco, a Republican who represents parts of Central New York, announced his intention to run months ago.
Whoever gets the GOP nomination would likely face Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is facing a Democratic primary against Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon.
Molinaro originally said he wasn’t going to run for the top job in the state, but changed his mind and kicked off his campaign at Tivoli village hall where he was once mayor.
Taking aim at dysfunction under the Cuomo administration, Molinaro said he would end “pay to play” politics and strip out hidden costs in state government.
“We can make government more efficient, we can provide meaningful mandate relief to local governments and school districts, we can cut property taxes, real meaningful property tax relief and provide the services our residents deserve,” Molinaro said during his announcement speech.
Putnam GOP committee chairman Tony Scannapieco said, in an interview, he was supporting Molinaro, an elected office holder he knew “very well,” considering both of their home counties are in the Hudson Valley.
Scannapieco said he’s done a good job as county executive in Dutchess and has taken a proactive approach to keeping taxes at bay.
“DeFrancisco I don’t really know,” Scannapieco said. “I know he’s been around a long time, but I know nothing about him.”
Scannapieco stressed whoever is the GOP candidate will need to get votes from New York City, which is typically a Democratic hotbed.
“You have to make sense,” Scannapieco said. “You can’t keep saying you’re going to give everything away and who’s paying for it.”
Republican Assemblyman Kevin Byrne is also voicing support for Molinaro, who he knows well. When Molinaro originally decided against running for governor in January, Byrne was one of the people that tried to convince him to reconsider.
In order for a Republican to win a statewide race, Byrne believes that candidate needs to have an “X-factor,” which he thinks Molinaro possesses. Byrne said Molinaro is someone who can cast a big tent and bring many different people into his campaign.
“He has an amazing record as a fiscal conservative,” Molinaro said. “But also believes in compassionate government.”
Byrne added at a time where there is division across the country, Molinaro would be the right person to unite residents and “help us believe again in our state.”
DeFrancisco has been in the state senate since 1992 and represents much of Onondaga County. He is currently the deputy majority leader in the senate. He was cordial when welcoming Molinaro to the GOP fray.
“I welcome County Executive Molinaro into the race and look forward to appearing with him before the various committees between now and the State Convention in May to engage in a spirited debate,” DeFrancisco said in a statement. “Anyone who knows me, knows I’m anything but quiet. The issues are too important to be meek or timid. I won’t be quiet about the corruption or the high taxes or the number of people leaving our state. Now is the time to fight for the future of our state. I’m ready, willing and able to take on the fight.”