In less than a month, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has racked up the endorsements of eight GOP county committees, giving him more than half of the weighted vote toward becoming the party's preferred nominee to run for governor.

Zeldin now has the backing of his home county of Suffolk on Long Island, as well as county chairs in Nassau, Monroe, Ontario, Tioga, Madison, Oneida and Broome counties.

The backing Zeldin has gotten has also coincided with a quick start to fundraising: His campaign on Sunday reported raising $2.5 million in the 10 days since he declared his candidacy.

Becoming the preferred party candidate is not a guarantee of becoming the nominee. Just ask another Long Islander who ran for governor, Rick Lazio, who lost the primary in 2010 to Carl Paladino.

All of this comes at an extraordinarily early time for Republicans to begin the process of finding a candidate to run statewide in 2022. But it also comes as Republicans recognize their deep disadvantage in heavily Democratic New York, including a yawning enrollment gap and being shut out of power in statewide office and in Albany.

Associations with former President Donald Trump, who remains a deeply unpopular figure with voters in New York, will also likely be a hindrance for the party.

Neverthless, a range of Republicans sense opportunity next year, reflected in the parade of candidates who traveled to Albany on Monday to meet with party leaders about a potential campaign.