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Is Chris Collins Planning To Run For Governor?

by on October 6, 2009

A $1,000 per ticket fundraiser in Rochester today for Erie County Executive Chris Collins has fueled speculation that Collins may run for governor next year.

Buffalo News reporter Bob McCarthy recaps Collins’ recent activity:

The county executive, meanwhile, has been traveling the state in recent weeks to meet party leaders. He has attended various county dinners and summer picnics, as close as Genesee County and as far as Manhattan.

Earlier this week, he attended the fall meeting of the Republican State Committee in Albany, where he was featured as one of the party’s “up and coming” figures and gave what one observer called an impressive speech.

“He worked the county [chairmen] before and after the speech,” said the GOP insider, who asked not to be identified. “Collins did a good job.”

Collins also has been working closely with Washington consultant Michael J. Hook, a Lancaster native who is also a supporter of new State Republican Chairman Edward F. Cox. Hook also ran the gubernatorial campaign of Republican John J. Faso in 2006.

I heard Collins on WBEN this morning, and he insists that he supports Rudy Guiliani, though also says that he’s waiting for Guiliani to make a decision on whether he plans to run. It sounds like he’s not willing to say whether he is or isn’t, but there has been plenty of talk that he is a back-up if Guiliani doesn’t run. I am sure most political insiders are assuming Guiliani won’t run, but I think that decision is entirely dependent on Andrew Cuomo and whether he officially jumps in the race or not. Guiliani says that he’s waiting until after this year’s elections, but, I think he’s really waiting for Cuomo.

That said, regardless of Cuomo’s move, I think Guiliani should run, and I believe that would be a good opportunity for Collins to be his running mate.

A Republican primary, sans bitter attacks, would be good for the Republican Party in New York, especially if there is a Democratic Party primary — which is sure to be a bitter one.

I like Collins, and think he’s done a good job for Erie County, but, there is no way he can top a ticket in a statewide election yet. The only Republican in the race so far, Rick Lazio, has previously run in a statewide race but still has to make a huge effort to build up name recognition, I would say Lazio has a significant head start, which is pretty important when the others in the race (Paterson and potential Cuomo) are starting a few laps ahead, I have said before that Collins is not ready to run for governor. But, Lt. Governor? i can get behind that.

Collins, I imagine, would be more than happy to balance a Guiliani ticket, and at the very least give him the opportunity to be introduced statewide with the help of Guiliani’s star power.

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