ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Billionaire businessman Donald Trump appears to be seriously considering a run for governor in the Empire State.
Though Trump thought about running for president and never did, this may be different. The mogul is being courted by some political heavy hitters who met with him Friday morning in New York City to discuss the possibility of Trump being the Republican candidate to challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo in the fall.
The meeting was held in Trump’s office, and Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy was positioned right next to the billionaire, and next to him was Assemblyman Dave DiPietro.
“I’m extremely encouraged. Mr. Trump was very sincere today,” DiPietro said. “He came right out and said a lot of positive things, gave us a lot of hope.”
Langworthy was a little more subdued about the idea of Trump running for governor this fall, saying, “I came with open ears to listen and he wanted to talk about the governor’s race and I think we had a very positive conversation today.”
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard made the trip and spoke with Trump. There were more than 60 people in the room, mostly Republican politicians and county chairmen from across the state.
James Schlick, chairman of the Wyoming County GOP Committee, said, “Went down to listen. It was a good meeting and I think he’d be a great governor. He’s a successful business, conservative.”
Trump even brought his wife and grown children to the meeting.
“He was far more serious about a candidacy than I thought he was when I got on the plane this morning,” said Langworthy.
In his first election, Governor Cuomo didn’t get a majority of the votes in Western New York, but heading into his re-election bid he is still considered strong statewide.
DiPietro noted, “Well, it’s a pretty much 2.5-, 3-to-1 Democratic ratio, so it is an uphill climb for Mr. Trump, but he is the one person in the state that brings the charisma, the integrity, the character, the name recognition, the money….He has all the intangibles. I think he can pull this thing together.”
Trump told the Buffalo News after the meeting, “If we could have a unified party with everybody backing properly, I would do it and I think I’d win.” He added that he plans to make a final decision in the next few weeks.