Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, one of the top Republicans in the state Legislature and a former gubernatorial candidate, is supporting Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for governor.
Kolb, R-Canandaigua, opted to endorse his friend and former colleague over two other candidates in the GOP field. Along with Molinaro, state Sen. John DeFrancisco and attorney Joe Holland are seeking the party's nomination.
Kolb and Molinaro served in the state Assembly together before the latter was elected Dutchess County executive.
"I can say with confidence that he is everything Albany needs, because he is everything that Albany is not," Kolb said of Molinaro. "For seven years, New York has moved down an unsustainable path, with corruption at an all-time high and public trust at an all-time low. In contrast, Marc has established himself as a proven leader who actually listens."
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Kolb's support was announced along with endorsements from 24 other members of the Assembly Republican conference. The list of Molinaro supporters includes Assemblyman Bob Oaks, who represents a portion of Cayuga County and also serves as Wayne County GOP chairman.
The endorsements come as Molinaro is inching closer to sewing up the Republican nomination. He has the support of 27 Republican county chairs representing more than 44 percent of the weighted vote. He needs at least 50 percent of the weighted vote to win the nomination at the GOP convention in May.
Kolb's support is another indication of Molinaro's momentum. When the pair were exploring gubernatorial bids last year, they discussed the possibility of forming a joint ticket to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
That was before Kolb declared his candidacy in December and Molinaro, in January, announced he would not seek the GOP nomination.
But the race changed when Kolb dropped out in February. Some Republicans urged Molinaro to reconsider, and he did. While meeting with GOP leaders in Saratoga Springs two weeks ago, he announced he is a candidate for governor.
Kolb believes Molinaro is the best candidate to challenge Cuomo in November.
"I have no doubt that Marc will bring selfless ideas, a collaborative spirit and genuine integrity that our executive chamber sorely lacks," Kolb said. "This isn't about making a change for change's sake. It's about making the right change, for our families, for our state, and for our future. The right change is Marc Molinaro."