Since 2010, the search has been on for the next Republican to challenge Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor. That political speculation spread to Albany-area leaders when Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said he'd be considering a run. But now, McLaughlin says he won't be running against the governor. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman explains, for McLaughlin, it comes down to an issue of money.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin says it's highly unlikely he'll run for governor later this year, pointing to the $30 million war chest raised by incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo too steep a hill to climb.
"I want to run. I mean, in my heart of hearts, I want to run, but I want to have a reasonable chance of victory, but without the money as I've said many times, the money is the fuel and without the fuel I can't leave the driveway," McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin is a second-term Republican lawmaker who represents a suburban district around Albany. A frequent critic of Governor Cuomo, he did travel around the state, but has struggled to raise his name recognition. His campaign account has $20,000 reported in July.
McLaughlin said, "If you can't raise a substantial amount of money, I don't know how you mount a credible challenge against a governor with thirty million. That's not say this governor shouldn't be beaten. He should be beaten, we need a good governor, but without the money and the ability to get the word out it's almost impossible."
With McLaughlin all but officially bowing out, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino remains the other potential Republican candidate. McLaughlin, like Republican Chairman Ed Cox, likes what he sees with Astorino, who recently won a second term in the Democratic heavy county.
"Yeah, Rob would be a very credible candidate. I have to but good things to say about Rob," McLaughlin said.
But Astorino faces his own challenges: Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino has said he would run on the Conservative Party line if the GOP candidate doesn't support the ousters of Republican leaders in the Assembly and Senate. Astorino hasn't called for their resignations, but…
"I'm not talking about forcing anyone out. That's up to the members. But I will say I'll set the agenda and I expect them to follow if I am elected," Astorino said.
As for McLaughlin, he is not ruling out a spot on the statewide ticket as a potential lieutenant governor candidate.
"I would certainly consider it, but we'll see what the future holds," he said.