- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported having $33.3 million in campaign cash Wednesday as he heads into an election year.

The Democratic governor raised $7 million since the last report in July and spent $1.5 million, the state Board of Elections filing showed. The hefty campaign war chest underscores Cuomo’s strong position to run a campaign for a second term in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 2-to-1.

“It costs a lot of money in New York to run an effective campaign,” said Steven Greenberg of the Siena College poll. “The governor essentially - with still 10 months to Election Day - has enough money to run that kind of campaign.”

It’s not clear who the Republican candidate will be in November, though Greenberg said Cuomo’s cash could “scare off” potential candidates.

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino has said he’ll make a decision on whether to run in the next two months. Donald Trump, who had publicly flirted with running for president in 2012, has said he would consider running if state Republicans join together behind him.

With the election looming, Cuomo this month unveiled a legislative agenda loaded with popular items like property tax freezes and a call for universal pre-kindergarten. The governor continues to promote selected liberal causes like medical marijuana while stressing business-friendly policies that could ingratiate him with more conservative voters.

With the threat of Cuomo making inroads with Republicans, state party chairman Ed Cox took the unusual step this week of sending a letter to fellow Republicans in New York urging them to resist any overtures from the Cuomo administration to cross party lines and support the governor.

“The Cuomo administration is well known for their heavy-handed tactics in winning support,” Cox wrote, “but for the sake of New York’s future, I hope I can count on Republicans such as yourself to be strong and to live up to our Republican convictions.”

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