More than half of New York state’s county Republican chairs have now endorsed Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin to become the party’s nominee for governor next year, with Erie and Niagara counties putting him over the top Friday.
Zeldin on Thursday had secured endorsements from more than half of the state’s Conservative Party chairs, raising the chances that he’ll be on the ballot in next year’s race for governor.
He’s just one of two Republicans who’ve formally declared their candidacy for governor next year. Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli has also announced a run, but hasn’t gained as much support to date.
Other Republicans are also considering a run for governor next year, including Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Zeldin already has a leg up on those candidates, having declared his candidacy and raised more than $2.5 million over the last month.
Republicans met in Albany last week to hear from the potential candidates, and state Republican Chair Nick Langworthy said at that point that Zeldin was the front-runner for the nomination.
“I think it would be a safe assumption that Lee Zeldin is the front-runner because he's the only person that's declared his candidacy to that level,” Langworthy said. “He's announced a very serious sum of fundraising.”
Whoever secures the nomination will compete for the governorship next year against either Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or whichever Democrat replaces him on the ticket.
Dan Clark is host/producer of New York Now.