Golisano Out of Governor’s Race

Three time third party candidate Tom Golisano was expected to run for and win the Republican nomination for governor, but apparently he’s decided to skip the race entirely. It now seems unclear who will win the GOP line and if that person will also receive the endorsement of the Independence Party under New York’s fusion system.

During his last three runs for governor on the IP line, Golisano has not come even close to winning, but he has posted increasingly improved results with each campaign.

In 1994 he receieved 217,490 votes or 4.1% of the total. In his second run, in 1998, his vote total improved to 364,056 votes or 7.7%. During his most recent bid as the Independence candidate in 2002, Golisano captured 654,016 votes or an impressive 14.3% of the total.

From the Associated Press...

Billionaire B. Thomas Golisano said Tuesday he will not make a fourth run for governor of New York, this time as a Republican, ending months of speculation.

Golisano, 64, had run unsuccessfully for governor in 1994, 1998 and 2002 as the candidate of the Independence Party. He switched to the GOP in October and was seriously considering running for its nomination.

“I have made my decision based upon personal and professional reasons,” the Rochester-based businessman and owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team said in a statement. He said he would stay active in business, philanthropic interests and “promoting responsible government.”

Polls had shown Golisano leading the GOP field. His decision leaves former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso as the front-runners for the party’s nomination.

Republican Gov. George Pataki, eyeing a 2008 run for the White House, announced in July that he would not seek a fourth term.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the leading candidate for governor, is the only announced Democratic candidate.

New York state primaries are held in September.

In 2002, Golisano spent $75 million of his own money on the governor’s race and finished a distant third with 14 percent of the vote as Pataki easily won a third term.

“Clearly, there are other candidates who are going to breathe a sigh of relief that the millions of dollars and the name recognition he would have brought to the race will not be there,” said independent pollster Lee Miringoff of Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion.

7 Responses to “Golisano Out of Governor’s Race”

  1. Otto Kerner Says:

    That sucks. I was hoping he had a chance of shaking things up a little. Not that there’s anything particularly great about Golisano, but he might have been maverick to ride the New York Republicans to some prominence and then run for something later as an independent, which would have been fun to watch.

  2. Jim 101 Says:

    It makes me wonder why he became a Republican in the first place!

    He should have looked to the NYS Conservative Party for backing, or, maybe even the Constitution Party. He has the juice to put them on the map here.

    Oh well, it’ll take a miracle for anyone to beat Eliot Spitzer anyway…

  3. Joe Says:

    Golisano would not get the Constitution Party’s backing - he is too liberal. I was present at the Conservative Party state convention in 2002 when he sought their nomination. He was rejected in favor of Republican George Pataki - another liberal.

  4. Otto Kerner Says:

    It’s silly to suggest that the Constitution or Conservative Party’s nominations would have had anything like the importance of the Republican Party’s.

  5. rj Says:

    Why hasn’t the Constitution Party candidate ever ran against Pataki for the Conservative nod?

  6. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Has there ever been a Constitution Party candidate that got on the ballot? With NY having both the Right to Life and Conservative parties, you’d think some sort of coalition could form up.

  7. Joe Says:

    To answer rj and Austin’s questions:

    The reason I was at the Conservative Party state convention in 2002, is because our candidate Lou Wein, was seeking the Conservative Party’s endorsement, along with Pataki and Golisano. Pataki got the endorsement. We did not get enough signatures to get Lou on the ballot that year. I voted for the Right to Life party’s candidate that year.

    I spoke to RTL leadership a few months ago. They no longer have ballot access, and when I spoke to them, they doubted they would run a candidate for governor this year. If they do, I would definitely consider trying to get the Constitution Party of New York to endorse their candidate.

    Of course, there have been many Constitution Party candidatges who have gotten on the ballot. Most recently of course, Jim Gilchrist in California. In New York, Howard Phillips was on the ballot for President and Lou was on the ballot for senate in 2000, the year our party started here. I voted for both. My recollection is that Lou received almost exactly the same number of votes as the Libertarian candidate that year. Last November we got a candidate on the ballot for town council. He won that election. To my knowledge he is the first elected Constitutionalist in our state.