Will DeFrancisco be late to announce that he is running for governor?

John DeFrancisco
John DeFrancisco
Mike Groll
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco on the Senate floor.

Will DeFrancisco be late to announce that he is running for governor?

The state Senate deputy majority leader has been slow to get in the race, but history shows he has time.
January 29, 2018

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco’s “Hamlet” act was starting to get old for some New York political observers. He has been publicly mulling a gubernatorial bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo since last summer. After months of deliberation, DeFrancisco appears to have made a decision, and is likely to launch his campaign against Cuomo with an announcement on Tuesday.

In an interview with City & State earlier this month, Republican strategist John McArdle suggested that – due to Cuomo’s advantages in fundraising and name recognition – a potential candidate from either party should have already launched their campaign.

“Ideally, they’re already announced and they’re out circulating the state raising money,” he said. Cuomo has more than $30 million in campaign funds, while DeFrancisco has nearly $1.5 million.

While DeFrancisco has been slow to get in the race and has a lot of catching up to do, he is Cuomo’s best funded challenger thus far. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has around $235,000 combined in his gubernatorial and Assembly accounts, and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra has nearly $230,000 in an old account. Several of the GOP’s strongest potential candidates against Cuomo have declined to run, such as businessman Harry Wilson and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, sowing panic within the state Republican Party.

Despite Cuomo’s significant lead in fundraising and his high favorability ratings, any challenger getting into the race now would still have plenty of time to mount a campaign – at least, by historical standards. In the previous two elections, candidates have declared their campaigns well into an election year. Here is a timeline of gubernatorial announcements for major candidates in the 2010, 2014 and 2018 elections:

2010

Sept. 21, 2009 – Former Rep. Rick Lazio, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the 2000 U.S. Senate race, informally announces that he is running for governor, with an official announcement the following day.

Feb. 20, 2010 – Gov. David Paterson launches his campaign for governor, seeking a full four-year term after inheriting the position due to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation.

Feb. 26, 2010 – Less than a week later, Paterson announces that he is ending his campaign, clearing the way for then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to launch his gubernatorial bid.

March 19, 2010 – Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy left the Democratic Party and declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor. Levy was ultimately unable to garner enough support at the state Republican Convention in June to be listed on the Republican line, and dropped out of the race in late July.

April 4, 2010 – Businessman Carl Paladino enters the race as a Republican candidate.

May 22, 2010 – Cuomo announces his gubernatorial campaign with a speech at New York City Hall.

Sept. 14, 2010 – Paladino defeats Lazio in an upset win in the primary.

Nov. 2, 2010 – Cuomo defeats Paladino in the general election.

2014

Jan. 15, 2014 – The New York Times reports that Cuomo has $33 million in his campaign coffers as he gears up for his re-election bid.

March 5, 2014 – Rob Astorino announces that he is running for governor on the Republican line.

May 30, 2014 – Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham Law School, announces that she will challenge Cuomo in the primary on the Working Families Party line. Cuomo wins the party’s nomination at its convention a day later.

June 13, 2014 – Teachout says she will challenge Cuomo in the Democratic primary in an interview with BuzzFeed, with Columbia law professor Tim Wu as her lieutenant governor.

Sept. 9, 2014 – Cuomo defeats Teachout in the primary, despite her surprisingly strong showing.

Nov. 4, 2014 – Cuomo wins the general election.

2018

Nov. 3, 2017 – Former state Sen. Terry Gipson forms a campaign committee to challenge Cuomo in the Democratic primary.

Dec. 12, 2017 – Kolb announces that he will run for governor.

Jan. 1, 2018 – Harry Wilson, a businessman considered to be a serious potential Republican challenger for Cuomo, says he will not run for governor.

Jan. 3, 2018 – Giambra launches his bid for the Republican nomination.

Jan. 4, 2018 – Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro declines to run for governor.

Jan. 28, 2018 – Paladino confirms that he will not be challenging Cuomo again. “There’s no reason to go out and waste your money and waste the time of people when you just don’t have the weaponry,” he said.

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.
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