Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb on Monday urged Republican Chairman Ed Cox to remain neutral in the race for the GOP nomination for governor.
“I don’t need the support from him publicly,” Kolb said. “I just need him to be neutral and be a chairman which means whoever wants to run, give them an opportunity. Don’t do backroom deals, don’t do phone calls telling people who you think you want or who you think it’s going to be. The state chairman should be out there raising money and finding candidates.”
Kolb, who spoke with the state Conservative Party earlier in the day, said he wanted a candidate to stand up to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term.
“I think it’s time for everyone to stop acting that way. I’m talking about people who that rely on state funding that are afraid to speak up. They’re forced or had their arm’s twisted and if they don’t there are repercussions,” he said. “This is all of our state, it’s not just his state.”
Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, is expected to join the race for governor on Tuesday with an announcement.
Along with ex-Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, there would be three Republicans in the race.
On the surface, Kolb would have a difficult path to the nomination. He has little to no statewide name recognition and, like any of the GOP candidates at this point, would likely struggle to be even remotely competitive in fundraising against Cuomo’s $30 million war chest.