New York Legislature

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb speaks to members in the Assembly Chamber in January.

Associated Press

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb plans to decide this month whether he will run for governor in 2018.

Kolb, R-Canandaigua, has been exploring a potential gubernatorial bid since the summer. He is one of four Republicans considering whether to seek the party's nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year. 

"Everything is going great," he said in a recent phone interview. "It's been very exciting and fulfilling and interesting and a lot of work. But certainly well worth it." 

His exploratory process will conclude soon. He expects to decide whether he will run for governor or not by Dec. 15. 

He wasn't phased by the election results around the state and country in November. In New York, Democrats won county executive races in Nassau and Westchester counties. There were victories in upstate, too. 

Outside of New York, Democrats scored several wins in Virginia state legislative seats and won the race for governor. 

Cuomo believes 2018 will be a big year for Democrats. He is seeking a third term as governor, a position he has held since 2011. But Kolb doesn't believe the 2017 results are a preview of what's to come in 2018. 

"I think the governor should know that anything can happen in a 24-hour time period in politics," Kolb said. "Everything is only what you know today. That doesn't mean today is going to predict the future. Anybody assuming that is making the wrong judgments." 

For Kolb, who has been a critic of Cuomo's policies, there are several reasons why he thinks the Democratic governor is vulnerable in 2018. He highlighted the governor's economic policies, including his support for a $425 million a year program that provides tax credits to film productions. 

While Kolb fell short of calling for the program's elimination, he pondered what could be done with that large pot of money instead of supporting the movie industry. It could be used to help lower property taxes or assist counties with Medicaid costs, he said. 

Kolb also questioned Cuomo's appearance at fundraisers with Hollywood players that he believes creates the appearance of a quid pro quo arrangement. 

"Are you raising money for your presidential aspirations? Are you raising money because of what you put in the budget for Hollywood tax credits?" he said. "I think those are all legitimate questions." 

As Kolb finalizes his plans for 2018, there is another potential candidate who could factor in his decision. 

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a fellow Republican who served with Kolb in the state Assembly, is exploring a run for governor. Kolb and Molinaro have discussed the possibility of forming a ticket to challenge Cuomo in 2018. 

There haven't been any new developments since the two floated the potential partnership in October. 

"Marc and I have stayed in touch," Kolb said. "Nothing has changed since last time we talked. Everything is still percolating." 

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