Retired Congressman Chris Gibson has agreed to serve as the campaign chairman for Marc Molinaro in his gubernatorial bid.
Gibson served three terms in Congress and 24 years in the U.S. Army, and is well respected on both sides of the aisle.
“Chris Gibson embodies the high standards for integrity, commitment and service by which we will run this campaign and which we will ultimately restore to the state Capitol in Albany,” Molinaro said. “I am honored that he has agreed to serve as campaign chairman.”
Gibson was elected to Congress in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2014.
In January 2015, Gibson, an ardent supporter of term limits, announced he would not seek re-election in 2016. Currently, Gibson is the Stanley Kaplan Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy at Williams College where he focuses on leadership studies. His book Rally Point is a commentary on how to restore unity in America.
“Marc Molinaro is the right person to clear the cloud of corruption that has descended over the Governor’s Office and restore New Yorkers’ faith in the future of our state,” Gibson said.
Molinaro, the Dutchess County Executive, officially kicked off his run for governor earlier this month by asking New Yorkers to “believe again,” promising a campaign to restore accountability, affordability and accessibility to “all New Yorkers.”
Within hours of the announcement, Sen. John DeFrancisco, who has been running since Jan. 30, challenged Molinaro to engage in a “spirited debate” with him about the future of New York and who would best represent Republicans in their goal to elect “anyone but Cuomo.”
“I welcome County Executive Molinaro into the race and look forward to appearing with him before the various committees between now and the State Convention in May to engage in a spirited debate,” said DeFrancisco. “I won’t be quiet about the corruption or the high taxes or the number of people leaving our state. Now is the time to fight for the future of our state. I’m ready, willing and able to take on the fight.”
Molinaro’s campaign speech focused on making New York more affordable for families struggling against the highest tax burden in the nation and the high cost of living.
“We will change the tone and culture of government, by empowering agencies to be creative and work with our partners in local government to solve problems, no matter their party,” said Molinaro.
Molinaro’s announcement speech also highlighted his focus on making New York more affordable for families struggling against the highest tax burden in the nation and the high cost of living.
Whichever candidate secures more than 50 percent of the GOP vote at the convention would become the party’s nominee on the November ballot.
DeFrancisco, the state Senate deputy majority leader from Syracuse, has locked up several endorsements from senators across the state. Molinaro managed to convince the Republican chairs in Sullivan and Chemung counties to switch their support from DeFrancisco to his campaign.
Molinaro’s campaign has so far been endorsed by GOP committees and chairpersons from the following counties:
- New York
DeFrancisco has seen endorsements from:
- St. Lawrence
New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a well-known conservative, endorsed Molinaro to be the next conservative governor. He referred to Molinaro as “not only good on conservative issues, he also represents our best chance to defeat Cuomo in November.”
“[Molinaro] has never disappointed or wavered from his values or principles. His honesty and integrity, and his willingness to listen and work closely with the public, are all qualities you don’t find in politics today,” said Maureen Natrella, chairwoman of the Dutchess County Conservative Party and Executive Board Member.
Sullivan County Republican Chairman Dick Coombe switched his support in March to Molinaro, adding more support to the Molinaro camp. Coombe, a former state assemblyman, had enthusiastically endorsed Sen. John DeFrancisco less than two weeks earlier, calling him “a strong voice for upstate New York” in a campaign press release.
Molinaro, who previously had declined to run, reemerged as a potential candidate since then and won a straw poll at a partial gathering of Republican county chairmen and state committee members in Albany. In just a week, 16 chairmen had endorsed Molinaro, giving him almost twice as many weighted votes at a future party convention as DeFrancisco had at that time.
“During his years of public service, Marc Molinaro has built a record of success and has made government work for the people. A tax cutter, a fighter for the people, and a caring and compassionate leader, Marc will put the people of New York first,” said Orange County Republican Committee Chairwoman, Courtney Greene.
Molinaro was first elected to public office at the age of 18 in 1994, serving on Village of Tivoli Board of Trustees. In 1995, he became the youngest mayor in the United States. He was re-elected mayor five times and elected four times to the Dutchess County Legislature. In 2006, he was elected to represent the 103rd District in the New York State Assembly. He was elected as Dutchess County’s 7th County Executive in November 2011. At 36, he took office as the youngest county executive in county history.