Harry Wilson, a corporate restructuring expert who was viewed as a top prospect to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018, will not run for governor.
The New York Daily News cited a source close to Wilson who said family considerations were the primary factor in his decision not to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Wilson told The Citizen in an interview last summer that his family would be a major factor in his decision-making process. He has four young daughters, including two in high school. As the founder of his own business, he now sets his own schedule. If he were elected governor, he would likely lose that ability due to the demands of the job.
With Wilson out of the race, New York Republicans lose a top candidate to challenge Cuomo's bid for a third term as governor.
Wilson pledged to spend $10 million of his own money in the race against Cuomo, who has a campaign war chest of nearly $26 million. The ability to at least partially self-fund a campaign made Wilson an appealing candidate for GOP leaders.
His experience as a statewide candidate — and his near victory in 2010 — also made him a strong potential challenger.
Eight years ago, Wilson was the Republican candidate for state comptroller against Tom DiNapoli, the Democratic incumbent. DiNapoli won by four percentage points. It was the closest a Republican has come to winning a statewide election since George Pataki was re-elected governor in 2002.
While Wilson is out of the race, Republicans have other candidates on their bench for 2018. The list includes Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who has already declared his candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Kolb entered the race in December.
State Sen. John DeFrancisco, who serves as the Senate deputy majority leader, is exploring a run for governor. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra are also considering gubernatorial bids. They are expected to decide soon whether to they will join the race for the party's nomination.
Cuomo was first elected in 2010. He won re-election in 2014 with 54 percent of the vote.