- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 28, 2005

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — When Hillary Rodham Clinton, an Illinois native then living in the White House, wanted to run for the Senate from New York, she launched a listening tour across the state.

Six years later, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld wants to become governor of his native New York, with a variation of the concept. He is planning a road trip to chop down some trees.

Mr. Weld told the Associated Press his formal campaigning for the 2006 Republican nomination will include a visit with regional Republican Party leaders Sept. 8 in Rockland County, north of New York City.

Then, the millionaire lawyer and private equity investment company partner said, “my hope is to be able to tie up enough of the business loose ends so my bride and I can hop in a car and tour some of the upstate counties after that — meet a few people, pick a few apples, let my bride chop down a few trees.”


“She’s much handier with a broad ax than I am,” Mr. Weld explained. “When she graduated from Bryn Mawr [College], she moved to the woods in West Virginia and literally built herself a log cabin with a chain saw and a broad ax.”

Mr. Weld’s bride is writer-editor Leslie Marshall. They were married in 2003. He had separated from his first wife of 25 years after moving back to New York in 2000.

Mr. Weld, 60, grew up on Long Island, the scion of a wealthy family. He spends summers at a family compound near Keene in the Adirondack Mountains.

Only one person in U.S. history has been governor of two states. Sam Houston was governor of Tennessee from 1827 to 1829 and Texas from 1859 to 1861.

Independent pollster Lee Miringoff said it makes sense for Mr. Weld to head out to traditionally Republican upstate New York “for the equivalent of a listening tour, without labeling it as such.”

“Part of his political need is to bridge the gap as a Republican with his upstate base, which may be more conservative than he is,” said Mr. Miringoff, head of Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion.

Mr. Weld is used to causing a ripple. He once dove, fully clothed, into Boston’s Charles River, to show how clean it was.

Several other Republicans also have expressed an interest in running. Billionaire businessman B. Thomas Golisano, the three-time losing gubernatorial candidate of the Independence Party, told the AP he may seek the Republican nomination.

In 2002, Mr. Golisano spent $75 million of his own money and finished a distant third. Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican who announced in July he would not seek a fourth, four-year term, spent $45 million to win easily.

Mr. Weld said he hopes to get the blessing of Mr. Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

In his first extensive interview since announcing Aug. 19 that he would run, Mr. Weld told the AP last week he expected to raise $40 million to $75 million for the race.

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