Donald Trump is ready to run for governor of New York if the state’s Republicans will unify behind him, but state GOP Chairman Ed Cox says Trump should officially declare his candidacy if he’s serious about seeking the state’s top spot.
Trump told the New York Daily News, after a two-hour meeting with 50 Republicans in his office on Friday, that he is seeking full support of the party and wants no primary elections.
“You can’t have primaries,” said Trump. “You can’t have all the wasted time and effort in doing that. You have to pick somebody and go to win. If that couldn’t happen, I wouldn’t do it.”
Cox, though, said Trump should go through the process of running, like any other candidate.
“If Donald Trump is serious about running for governor, he should declare his candidacy, run and go through the process,” Cox is already supporting Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s potential campaign, the Daily News reports.
Astorino has not yet officially decided to run, but his spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said he would not step aside and allow Trump to run unopposed.
“We think it’s great he’s thinking of running,” Proud said. “They both care deeply about the state and are both very concerned watching Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo manage its decline.”
Meanwhile, she said Astorino is “going to continue to go through his process, traveling around the state. We’re going to Syracuse next week and Oswego. If Mr. Trump is interested in running, we encourage him to go through his own process.”
Astorino has said he will spend the next two months speaking with donors and business owners, and others to decide whether he should run for governor.
Trump insisted his interest this time around is real, even though Republicans and Democrats alike criticize the real estate mogul for threatening to run for many offices, including the presidency, without following through.
Trump, though, said after his meeting with the 50 Republicans that he is very interested in running, and that daughter Ivanka and son Eric can run his businesses if he is elected.
Trump also thinks Cuomo can be defeated because of his unpopular policies on taxes and gun control.
Trump is already gathering some support among Republicans who think he is the only person who and defeat Cuomo. The billionaire is also expected to report that his campaign coffers already have more than $30 million available.
He has said that he will come to a decision early next month before his address to the Manhattan Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner.
Trump and Astorino met at Trump’s office Thursday, where they talked about New York’s issues, including the business climate and regulatory policies.
Proud said Trump and Astorino have had contacts in the past, including playing golf together, and Trump even donated $15,000 to a past Astorino campaign.
Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who lost to Cuomo last year, also plans to run, saying he’ll seek the party’s nomination if whoever the other Republican candidates don’t call to ouster the state Legislature’s Republican leadership.
Trump says he hasn’t spoken with Paladino, but he likes “his spirit and I like his drive. I’m sure he’ll come along. He wants to see a change. He has the state’s best interests in mind.”