As political operatives begin to line up on both sides- either urging Trump to run, or pressing against it, WBEN.com and Buffalo's Early News goes in depth.
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|NEW ! : From the Siena Poll released Monday morning:
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo leads of nearly 50 points over both Donald Trump and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, according to a Siena College Poll of New York voters released today.
Cuomo is viewed favorably by 66 percent of voters and unfavorably by 28 percent (up from 61-32 percent in November). Astorino has a 14-10 percent favorability rating. Trump’s is 38-57 percent.
“Looking toward November, Cuomo currently crushes both Astorino, who’s unknown to three-quarters of voters, and Trump, who is viewed unfavorably by 57 percent of voters. Neither Trump nor Astorino garners the support of a majority of Republicans, and both trail among independents by more than 40 points,” Siena Pollster Steve Greenberg says.
READ MORE: Poll Summary | Question By Question
|Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - State Assemblyman David DiPietro says that if Donald Trump ran for Governor, the battle between him and Governor Andrew Cuomo would be massive, and that Trump may be the only one who can beat the incumbent.
"I've been in breakfast twice with the Governor, I've talked with him personally, and I've been with Mr. Trump," DiPietro said. "I can tell you right now, they're exact polar opposites."
DiPietro was among a group of 48 Republicans who met with Trump earlier this month. Part of the reason DiPietro and others are so high on Trump is the instant name recognition he brings, making him the man many Republicans point to as the one who can de-throne Cuomo.
"If (Potential GOP nominee) Rob Astorino comes to East Aurora, to the Roycroft for dinner, and he announced that a week ahead of time, no one else would be there except the people having dinner. If you say Donald Trump, next Monday, is going to be in East Aurora, you'll have 1,000 people waiting outside to see him."
DiPietro also says that Trump's popularity in New York City makes him an attractive candidate.
Money won't be an issue either. Cuomo has over $30 million in campaign funds, a number that would scare off many potential challengers, but not Trump. "He (Trump) goes, '$30 million? This building's worth $850 million. I'll put $100 million down in a heartbeat'" DiPietro said about a conversation from last month's meeting.
"This is going to be fun, because when they start going at it, when the fur starts flying between the two of them, the State of New York is going to be ground zero in the country because they're going to want to see this battle. It's going to be epic."
Supporters who want to see Donald Trump run for Governor say that state GOP chair Ed Cox is doing whatever he can to squash the idea--- even texting county chairmen while some of them were in a room meeting with Trump.
But speaking this weekend on WBEN's Hardline program (Sunday 10a-12noon) Cox said he can't just annoint Trump or even Westchester County Exec. Rob Astorino, without a vote of those chairs.
While officially he says he has to stay neutral in his public pronouncements, Cox offers easy praise for Astorino, and less so for Trump.
Hear The Entire Interview Here
If Donald Trump doesn't run for Governor, who can the Republicans turn to?
And if he does run, will he be managed in ways that sometimes a susccessful candidate needs to be?
The real estate billionaire says he could pump $30-50 million of his own dollars into a campaign war chest, and political strategist Carl Calabrese says Trump "could see Governor Cuomo's $30 million and raise it $10 million more and turn this into a serious game of political poker."
But can Trump call all the shots, including not having a primary challenger?
"That's up to the party leadership, starting with the state chairman in terms of setting up a path to the nomination without a primary," says Calabrese who adds Trump won't be the kind of candidate who can easily be managed.
"He's used to calling his own shots, what political direction he'd be willing to take from those with experience in running statewide campaigns, who knows? That could be a blessing or a curse," he explains.
There's one other potential roadblock: Calabrese says if Trump runs, he must fill out a 25-30 page personal financial disclosure form, not only about himself but his immediate family.
"It's a bear of a report that goes into your financial details. The question becomes, is he willing to open up his entire financial empire to public scrutiny. That is a major issue for anybody with the means of Donald Trump. That could be the final deciding factor, yes or no. My guess is if he declines, this would be the reason," believes Calabrese.
In the event Trump chooses not to run, Calabrese says Republicans may look to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who defeated an incumbent Democrat four years ago in a county where Democrats hold a 2 to 1 voter edge.