Sources familiar with his preparations insist that Senator Rob Ortt, who currently leads the Republican caucus in the State Senate, is seriously considering a run for Governor of New York this year — rather than seeking reelection to his Niagara County-based State Senate district.
Ortt would enter a crowded Republican primary field but would be the only contender from Western or Upstate New York, making for a candidacy that might leverage such a regional-identity politics advantage.
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (the 2014 nominee) has been campaigning for several months.
Former Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, who has been endorsed by Ortt’s longtime rival, State Chairman Nick Langworthy, has been fundraising aggressively.
Harry Wilson, the independently wealthy hedge fund manager and former Republican nominee for State Comptroller, is already running television commercials in upstate media markets.
Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former Mayor of New York City, is also actively campaigning downstate.
Ortt has served as Majority Leader for two years, and was criticized by some in the party for leading the caucus into a devastating election cycle in which it suffered major losses just before a ten-year reapportionment.
Ortt formerly served as Mayor of North Tonawanda, City Treasurer, and as an infantryman in Afghanistan.