ALBANY – The decision by leaders of the small but influential state Conservative Party to support Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for governor is not causing his chief GOP rival to consider dropping out of the campaign.
Not yet, anyway.
“It’s obvious that Molinaro has the momentum," Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse-area Republican, said this morning after he said Mike Long, the Conservative Party’s chairman, informed him about the Friday straw poll by the party’s leadership backing Molinaro.
Molinaro already has been endorsed by an ever-growing number of Republican and Conservative party leaders. A candidate to represent the two parties in the general election this fall for governor will be formally selected next month.
The Conservative Party’s choice for years has been a key barometer for who the Republican Party will end up endorsing. “Obviously, that’s not going to help my efforts with the Republican Party," DeFrancisco said in an interview today about the Conservative Party’s executive committee supporting Molinaro.
DeFrancisco said he still has events planned in the future and said he has asked the leaders of both parties to support debates between himself and Molinaro. “I’ll continue going and see how this develops and if I get it that’s great … but if I don’t get it the world will not end for me," DeFrancisco said.
Later in the afternoon, DeFrancisco was sounding less sure. He told reporters at the Capitol that he was going to examine where he stands with support within the GOP and figure out a decision about his campaign. Asked if he might drop out before the GOP convention next month, DeFrancisco said: “I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point in time.’’
The GOP senator reiterated that he has no plans to run in a GOP primary against Molinaro if the Dutchess County Republican is the party’s nominee. “The most important thing in my mind is to make certain we have a new governor and if there’s a split in the Republican Party that’s obviously not going to bode well in a substantially Democrat state to win in November. It would be some extraordinary circumstance that would allow me to run in a primary and I don’t see that happening," DeFrancisco said.