- Associated Press - Friday, March 2, 2018

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Top officials in the New York Republican Party have picked Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro as their top candidate for governor - even though he hasn’t officially entered the race to challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Molinaro received 55 out of 83 votes in a straw poll Friday at a Republican State Committee meeting in Saratoga Springs. He beat out state Sen. John DeFrancisco, who won 23 votes, and former state housing official Joseph Holland, who received five.

Molinaro addressed the GOP leaders behind closed doors before the straw poll. State GOP Chairman Ed Cox later said Molinaro declared his candidacy during his remarks, but Molinaro’s spokesman later clarified that Molinaro has not publicly committed to running.

Republicans will nominate a candidate for the November gubernatorial election in May.

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