Quick Take: Lalor on the Four Republican Candidates For Governor Of New York
The wildcard candidate is Andrew Giuliani, son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The younger Giuliani has worked in finance and in the Trump White House. He is energetic, thoughtful and has a marquee last name. He would be exponentially more effective at turning around the state than Governor Hochul, the likely Democrat candidate.
The newcomer is Harry Wilson, a wealthy financier who lives in Westchester and hails from upstate Johnstown. Wilson has long been sought as a gubernatorial candidate by powerful New York Republicans because of his background as a turnaround artist in the private sector and his ability to self-fund his campaign. Wilson also believes his service on President Obama's Auto Industry Task Force will help him in the general election. His donation to the campaign of college friend Alvin Bragg, the soft on crime Manhattan DA, has already caused some problems for Wilson. But if he is the nominee, Republicans would certainly have a lot of reasons to rally to his side.
In 2014 the Republican establishment led by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos undermined GOP candidate Rob Astorino to aid Cuomo and temporarily hold together their shady power-sharing agreement. Skelos went to jail. Cuomo was forced to resign. Astorino again is running for governor. He is significant executive experience having governed as a conservative for eight years as county executive in deep blue Westchester. Astorino also expanded the GOP tent earning large shares of support from minority voters. He is telegenic and a skilled communicator in two languages.
The knock on Astorino is that he lost his re-election for county executive. Astorino counters that he lost narrowly in a county that Trump lost by thirty-seven points. He believes he is the only Republican candidate that can be competitive in Westchester and New York City - keeping things close enough there to have a chance for Republican-leaning Upstate and Long Island to deliver victory. Recently, Astorino sent shock waves from White Plains to Albany to Washington DC by uncovering and exposing secret flights of illegal immigrants into New York. Even without holding office Astorino is doing more for New Yorkers than Hochul.
Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin is also a formidable choice for Republicans. He is a US Army veteran and former state senator. He beat a powerful incumbent Democrat en route to Congress where he has been the kind of Republican the party’s base and moderates can get behind. Zeldin is known as an excellent campaigner and a good guy. Democrats would try but they would have a hard time demonizing him. Zeldin already has $5.6 million to fight off attacks and get his message out.
Kieran M. Lalor is a Republican Member of the New York State Assembly representing Dutchess County.