ALBANY - The leader of the state Assembly Republicans announced Tuesday he’s running for governor, becoming the first GOP candidate to officially enter the race.
Assemb. Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) launched a campaign website and Twitter account titled “Kolb for New York.” On it, Kolb said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has failed to make New York affordable for students, seniors and businesses that are fleeing the state, and has failed to address public corruption.
“As governor, Brian Kolb will clean up Albany, root out fraud, waste, and abuse and restore trust and transparency,” Kolb’s website says.
While a number of Republicans have talked about challenging Cuomo, Kolb is the second to take a concrete step toward doing so. Earlier this year, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro formed a gubernatorial campaign account. -- though he hasn’t yet officially announced a bid.
Kolb, 65, has served in the Assembly since 2000, representing a Finger Lakes district that includes all of Ontario County and part of Seneca. He has been Assembly Minority Leader since 2009. The position has little power, but provides a bully pulpit to push issues.
Kolb has advocated steadily for individual and business tax cuts and more oversight of state contracts. He’s been among the most vocal critics of Cuomo’s economic-development initiatives, some of which are now part of a federal indictment. Kolb previously ran two small businesses in the Greater Rochester area.
Besides Kolb and Molinaro, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport), Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) and ex-hedge fund manager Harry Wilson have told others they are considering a campaign.
“I’m a husband, father, and grandfather who, like most New Yorkers, didn’t come from wealth, power or fame,” Kolb said on his website. “I understand the value of honesty and I know New York families are working hard every day to overcome challenges.”