Longtime Albany insiders openly joke that Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro has the easiest job in New York politics. “Can you imagine a county that is smaller, richer, less diverse, more Republican, with fewer Medicaid eligible residents,” the punchline goes.
That’s why the Republican County Executive’s flirtation with a gubernatorial run — first he was running, then he withdrew, now he is running again — baffles so many political observers. He is expected to ‘officially’ be back in the race following a planned April 2nd announcement, but Molinaro’s fickle style has observers less than confident he intends to stay in the race.
Why not wait for a better election cycle for Republicans, they wonder? All the conventional wisdom suggests that the mid-terms will be a wave election cycle with high turnout among Democrats. In a State like New York that dooms any statewide candidate appearing on the Conservative line — making it inconceivable that Molinaro could be elected the next Governor of New York.
He apparently understands that because his campaign team made public a revelation that sent shockwaves across the state: Molinaro didn’t vote for Trump. That gives Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse a big advantage in the GOP primary.
For a young guy with an excruciatingly easy job (some say with lots of ‘perks’), as the County Executive of Dutchess County, why would one run for Governor this year — when it would be far easier to wait and run in four years, after the predictable pendulum swing of national voter turnout patterns.
Why would Molinaro take such an inordinate risk — one that would surely stunt his promising career trajectory? Some speculate that he has received the intoxicating assurances of the party chairman, and their political enforcers just beyond the shadows.
In fairness, Molinaro is a good looking youngish guy who found a way of going along to get along, and has risen up the political ranks of Dutchess County accordingly. Perhaps the run is motivated by a sense of loyalty to the team; or by the self-doubt that worries of a weaker candidacy in four years.
The opportunity to run for Governor is almost always a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s much harder the second time, and most who attempt it would be laughed out of contention — just ask Rob Astorino or Carl Paladino. Many GOP loyalists are saying as much to Molinaro privately, ahead of his supposed announcement. He would be wise to actually hear them when they speak.