Molinaro Considering Another Run for Governor: Does He Have a Chance?
Marc Molinaro revealed that yes, he is thinking about launching another gubernatorial campaign.
The moderate republican leader of Dutchess County is currently serving his last term as County Executive. Usually shying away from political discussion outside of the county, Molinaro has been quickly ramping up his criticism of Andrew Cuomo.
Those who follow Molinaro on Twitter would be forgiven for thinking they were somehow transported back to 2018. The Dutchess County Executive has been posting old clips from his debates with the governor, specifically highlighting the times he held Cuomo's feet to the fire on corruption. While there's been no official talk of running again, Molinaro's refound interest in statewide politics has led many to wonder if he's ready to throw his hat in the ring once again.
In an interview on Monday on local radio station WPDH, Molinaro admitted that yes, he is considering a run for governor. The county executive says he's extremely disturbed by what's happening in Albany, and the governor's recent behavior is just more proof that he's no longer suited for the job.
Even with bipartisan disapproval of Cuomo's handling of nursing home death statistics and several claims of sexual harassment, the race of governor may still prove to be an uphill climb for the Dutchess County native. In 2018 Molinaro received just 36% of the vote in a state that hasn't elected a Republican governor since 1974, except for George Pataki in 1995, who leaned more left than many democrats at the time.
One hurdle Molinaro will need to face is his history of remaining silent on national politics. While this laser-focused approach to local politics has made him extremely popular in Dutchess County, it may actually work against him in a statewide race. During the past four years, the county executive was rarely heard even uttering the word "Trump," let alone commenting on his presidency. This was a smart move because of how evenly divided Dutchess County has been on national politics. However, New Yorkers, especially those to the south, will be looking for someone who aligns with their views.
The world was a much different place the last time Molinaro went toe-to-toe with Cuomo. Strictly focusing on state issues was more than enough to win over voters. But now, in 2021, there are Republican governors blatantly ignoring CDC recommendations and repealing mask mandates, changing voting rules to make it harder for people of color to cast their ballots and directly challenging progress proposed by the Biden administration. As a republican candidate for governor in New York, Molinaro will ultimately be forced to pick a side and explain his position on issues that may ruffle the feathers of many loyal voters.
In 2020, Donald Trump received 37% of the vote in New York State, almost the exact same percentage that Molinaro won in 2018. The county executive could decide to build on that number and embrace Trump conservatives or go the opposite way and appeal to democrats who are fed up with Cuomo, hoping to chip away at those big democratic numbers. Too far to the left, however, would quickly cost Molinaro support from that small, but passionate conservative base.
Whatever happens, it will surely prove to be interesting. Be sure to stay tuned.