New York Republican county chairs will be meeting once again in Albany in less than two weeks, this time to choose who they will be backing in the race for New York governor.
Right now, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin is seen as the frontrunner in the race and has already been endorsed by a majority of the Republican county chairs, accounting for 67% of the weighted vote at the GOP convention. He has also secured enough support from Conservative Party leaders to win that party’s designation as well.
Another big name though has also entered the race, Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who launched his bid about a month ago.
Also in the running is former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost when he ran against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, and Sheriff Mike Carpinelli, from Lewis County.
Potential GOP gubernatorial candidates made the trek to Albany in April to make their pitch to county chairs on why they were the best choice to possibly challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2022. Rep. Zeldin was named a frontrunner after that meeting two months ago, but that didn’t stop the other three candidates from pushing ahead saying they plan to take their bid to the primary.
But many GOP leaders are wary of a costly primary and have said they want to present a united front before next summer.
“I've said I think Lee Zeldin has established himself as a frontrunner pretty clearly because he has amassed a lot of support and has raised a lot of funds,” state GOP Party Chairman Nick Langworthy said on Thursday outside the State Capitol. “But we will see where that takes us. We're going to be, on June 28, back here in Albany, with all the county leaders and we look forward to that.”
Langworthy said that county chairs will be conducting a non-binding straw poll on June 28 to decide who has the majority of support from Republican leaders across the state.
“The way I look at this, we're going to have a straw poll, but it's the same jury you're going to face when we come back at it in the official convention,” Langworthy said. “So if you can’t put it together the summer before, it’s pretty tough to envision that you can put it together when you come back at it in the wintertime.”
Zeldin, Giuliani and Astorino have already been on the campaign trail touring the state.