Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro won the Republican nomination for New York governor on Wednesday, promising that if elected he would take on corruption and entrenched special interests while working for “everyday New Yorkers” of every political affiliation.
“Albany will not be a cash cow for the rich and powerful any longer,” declared Molinaro, 42, a former state lawmaker whose political career began at age 19 when he was elected mayor of the small Hudson Valley community of Tivoli. Delegates to the New York state Republican convention unanimously nominated him on the first day of the two-day gathering in a Manhattan ballroom.
“I don’t come from wealth or fame. I wasn’t born into a political dynasty. … I’m just an everyday New Yorker with a calling and some hard-earned knowhow,” Molinaro told delegates in his acceptance speech. “I have no interest in ideology for ideology’s sake. That doesn’t solve problems, people do.”
Molinaro’s comments targeted two potential Democratic rivals in the November election: two-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo in the September primary.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by more than 2-1, meaning Molinaro will have to appeal to many voters from outside his party if he hopes to prevail. Republicans haven’t held a statewide office in New York since former Gov. George Pataki left office in 2006.
Pataki addressed the convention shortly before Molinaro accepted the nomination. He called Albany the nation’s most corrupt capital city and dismissed talk about Molinaro’s uphill challenge, noting that he was also considered a long shot when he defeated the elder Cuomo in 1994.
Molinaro, who is married and has three children, initially announced he would not run for governor but changed his mind earlier this year. He quickly emerged as the GOP frontrunner, beating out a bid from Syracuse Republican John DeFrancisco, the deputy majority leader of the New York state Senate.
Democrats are holding their nominating convention this week on Long Island.