Job: Westchester County Executive
Residence: Hawthorne, Westchester County
The background: Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo significantly outspent him in 2014, Astorino surprised many with his strong showing in counties outside New York City, which delivered its Democratic-rich base to get Cuomo to his 54 percent showing. Astorino has not been shy in criticizing Cuomo on job creation and ethics. Many Republicans saw 2014 as a trial run for Astorino for a repeat in 2018.
Job: U.S. congressman
Residence: Kinderhook, Columbia County
The background: Retiring after three terms in Congress, Gibson has been looking at a statewide run for more than two years. On the right on some issues – like gun control – and the left on others – like abortion. Gibson’s moderate views make some conservatives in his party uneasy. His resume includes: 24-year Army career, rose through ranks to Colonel, deployed seven times, including four combat tours in Iraq and commanding an 82 Airborne Division team overseeing relief efforts in Haiti. Holds Ph.D. from Cornell and taught politics at West Point.
Job: Dutchess County Executive
Residence: Red Hook, Dutchess County
The background: Molinaro has been involved in politics and government all his adult life. Elected at age 18 to board of trustees, and the next year mayor of the small, Hudson River village of Tivoli. Also elected to the Dutchess County Legislature and New York State Legislature. He’s now in his second term as county executive. He highlights his downsizing of county government and focus on economic development in a county long ago propped up with IBM jobs.
Job: Real estate developer
The background: Pull-no-punches Paladino lost to Cuomo in 2010, despite running a colorful and controversial campaign against the Democrat. Paladino is proudly hard-core conservative, and he has kept very much in the game as an outspoken member of the Buffalo school board. Recently, he told The Buffalo News he was encouraged by Donald Trump’s standing in polls as a sign that New York voters would be more receptive to him and his ideas in another statewide run. Paladino, too, has already shown the stomach for a primary contest, having easily dispatched former Rep. Rick Lazio in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary.
Job: corporate turnaround executive
Residence: Scarsdale, Westchester County Age: TO COME
The background: Wilson lost on the Republican line running in 2010 against state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. No one would argue Wilson would bring finance credentials to the governor’s office. He grew up in working class Johnstown in Fulton County, and graduated from Harvard with an MBA. Early stints included time at Goldman Sachs, later going on to mega equity firm Blackstone Group. An investor and chairman of MAEVA Group in White Plains, Wilson has an expertise in corporate restructuring; he was a senior adviser in 2009 at the U.S. Treasury Department and a key member of the team of experts that restructured GM and Chrysler.