The following is an expanded version of the third item of my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions:
Staten Island Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who lost to Mayor de Blasio in November, says she is throwing her support for governor behind her Assembly GOP leader, Brian Kolb.
“I have a strong working relationship with him,” Malliotakis said. “I know him as leader. I think he has really provided smart alternatives to what the progressives in our state are offering.”
Malliotakis has been mentioned as a possible lieutenant governor candidate, but said she has no interest running statewide this year.
“I’ve been focused locally,” she said.
A GOP source said she’s focused on a possible borough president run.
In addition to Kolb, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra has said he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
State Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is expected to announce his candidacy either Tuesday or Wednesday, sources said.
“Both Sen. DeFrancisco and Assembly Leader Kolb are good candidates,” Malliotakis said. “Both are intelligent and offer policy alternatives to the governor.”
Gov. Cuomo enters the race with solid poll numbers and $30.4 million in his campaign account. But Republicans believe federal corruption trials involving his aides and associates, the New York City subway crisis, and a drop in upstate population make him vulnerable.