And while he made a pledge to decide on entering that race "shortly", he made no firm commitment to running, spoke broadly about the party's selection process and said that any race against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is "absolutely winnable."
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Speaking Tuesday morning on Talk 1300 in Albany, with the New York Post's Fred Dicker, Trump said he's ready to make a final decision on a run for governor by the end of the week. During his speech last night to the Syracuse area Republican committee, he was less specific saying only " I will decide shortly" before adding that Republicans can win against Gov. Cuomo.
After briefly acknowledging Onondaga County Republican Chair Tom Dadey at the start of his remarks , Trump then referenced the Erie County GOP Chair, former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and Assemblymen David DiPietro of East Aurora and Bill Nojay of Rochester.
"I have to say Nick Langworthy, and a few other people have been so supportive and they came to my office and said 'would you consider doing this.' And so Nick you are back there ,. and David Dipietro, and a whole group of people. And Carl Paladino , I have to say has been an amazing guy, a good guy and not everyone knows that right? And he's a very special guy, and I've really become friends with him over the last little while. He was among the first to call and say ' You can win.You can win. It will be a landslide'.
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Earlier he had said he would go to the state GOP convention, but not engage in a primary against Westechester County Exec. Rob Astorino, the only declared Republican so far. And last night he almost metaphorically referenced state Republican Party Chair Ed Cox, an Astorino supporter by saying the two met recently in Florida.
"I said 'I can't meet with you, I'm in Florida.' and Ed said 'I'll come up and meet you.' I said "OK as long as I don't have to fly up to see you. Do you understand that?"
"And we had a good dinner and we talked about a lot of things. But Rob (Astorino) has a problem, he's got no money. And you have a problem as Republicans because many of the so-called loyal Republicans you have are actually endorsing Cuomo. And I've said very clear that I would do what I have to do, and I think I would win, actually."
About half of the state's Republican county committees have not committed to Astorino. Instead, many counties holding substantial weighted votes, including Onondaga County's GOP committee, are waiting to see what Trump does, Capital New York reports.
"And Rob has two problems: he has no name recognition and he has no money," Trump said
He again referenced Erie County Chairman Langworthy, when saying that he has heard yet another candidate could enter the race.
"When Nick tells me that's not happening, I sort of believe that but who knows? In one of the newspapers they said there will be a surprise candidate. I'd like to know who it is," after which an audience member cried out "Donald Trump!" to much applause.
When not talking about Gov. Cuomo or state politics, Trump spent much of the time talking about the environment and pushing for hydrofracking, the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale that has been delayed by Cuomo for further study.
He also spoke against the New York SAFE Act. In a denunciation of the state's gun control measure passed in 2013 but target for repeal by many Republicans, he acknowledged the possibility of the convention picking someone else to run running by saying " whoever ultimately is going to be the nominee for the Republicans, better bring it up loud and clear. "
Later in his speech, he made similar remarks saying " I would think that whoever you folks in a wise manner decide to choose.. the Republicans really do have a chance to win. And it could almost turn around the entire psyche of the country if that happens. So we'll see what happens... "