Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has created a campaign committee to run for governor in 2018, according to state election records.
Molinaro for New York was registered with the state Board of Elections Wednesday. It's the latest indication that the Republican will enter the 2018 race.
Molinaro has been exploring a gubernatorial bid for months. He has traveled around the state and met with Republican officials. His statewide tour included a stop in Seneca County over the summer.
Two former colleagues could reunite in an attempt to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018.
He would be the first Republican to enter the gubernatorial contest. Others have expressed interest in the race, including corporate restructuring expert Harry Wilson, state Sen. John DeFrancisco and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
Kolb, R-Canandaigua, and Molinaro told The Citizen Monday that they are discussing the possibility of a joint ticket to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2018 election.
Both said they would make a decision on the 2018 race within the next month.
While Molinaro hasn't made a formal announcement, the creation of a campaign committee is an indication that he will seek the GOP nomination to challenge Cuomo, who's seeking a third term, in 2018.
Republicans are looking to snap a lengthy losing streak in statewide elections. The last GOP candidate to win a statewide race was Gov. George Pataki when he was re-elected in 2002.
GOP leaders are hopeful that they can defeat Cuomo next year. They cite the New York City subway system's woes and the corruption case against Joe Percoco, the governor's former top aide. The state's economy, particularly in upstate, is also an issue.
But Republicans will have their own challenges. Democrats hold a significant enrollment advantage in New York, especially downstate. To mount a serious campaign against Cuomo, the GOP nominee will need to raise millions of dollars.
As of July, Cuomo had more than $25.6 million in the bank.
Cuomo's poll numbers have been shaky in recent months, but a Siena College poll released in early October found a majority of voters would support him for re-election in 2018.