Trump: 'I Can Put Up $200 Million' If I Run for NY Gov.

Image: Trump: 'I Can Put Up $200 Million' If I Run for NY Gov.

Friday, 17 Jan 2014 07:47 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Donald Trump says he can far surpass New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $33 million war chest should he decide to run for governor.

"I can put up $200 million if I want," Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star told The Buffalo News Thursday, while announcing a trip later this month which is being seen as some of his first feelers about whether he'll decide to run.

On Jan. 31, Trump will be in Lancaster, N.Y., for the Erie County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Leadership Awards Reception. He said he will be in Lancaster "for a couple of hours" in support of county Republican Chairman Nicholas Langworthy's fundraiser.

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Langworthy, who said he expects Trump will make his decision official in February, has not endorsed the Manhattan millionaire or Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who made his own upstate exploratory trip to Buffalo in December.

However, Langworthy says he will not endorse any candidate that does not make an official declaration.

“If [Trump] declares his candidacy, it's certainly a game-changer, providing a national race with two huge names going for the governorship," Langworthy said.

Trump said that while he likes and respects other potential candidates like Astorino, he can bring more to a Republican campaign. Meanwhile, he criticized Cuomo's trips and state economic development money for the western part of the state as attempts to buy votes in places he lost in the 2010 election.

"If I ran, it's a race that absolutely could be won," Trump told The Buffalo News. "When I started 'The Apprentice' — 10 years ago now — everybody said no. It became the No. 1 show on television."

Trump's planned trip to Buffalo is sending strong signals that he'll run for governor this year, even though he's also put out feelers for other races — including the U.S. presidency — in years past without running for public office.

"Something is happening for Donald Trump to come to Buffalo," former Republican Rep. Thomas Reynolds said. "That tells me there is some sort of interest here in 2014. You can’t argue with the fact that there is at least January interest about what will happen in November."

Trump also criticized State Republican Chairman Edward Cox, who sent a letter to GOP leaders this week questioning Trump's intentions.

Cox also last week pushed for Trump to make a decision, saying that if he is "serious about running for governor, he should declare his candidacy, run, and go through the process," after Trump said he'd consider running if the Republican Party unifies in his support.

Trump called Cox a "highly unsophisticated and poorly tested" man who has never won a political race.

"Actually, he doesn’t understand politics," Trump said of Cox, who is considered by many to be a major Astorino supporter.

Cox said Thursday he is glad Trump is starting to take initial steps toward a campaign, and that he's traveling around the state to meet with Republicans.

Trump met with several key Republicans in December to discuss a possible campaign, and said Thursday that subsequent meetings with other leaders from around the state have convinced him they would support him if he runs.

If Trump does mount a campaign, he may face Buffalo's Carl Paladino, who ran in 2010 on the Republican party and who has hinted he'll run this year if the GOP doesn't present a well-known candidate.

Meanwhile, Trump may not be limiting himself to a race for governor. He has a trip planned to New Hampshire for a Jan. 21 speech at a "Politics & Eggs" event at St. Anselm College in Manchester, where a 2012 Republican primary debate was held.

A news release from the college's New Hampshire Institute of Politics suggested Trump's enticing choices — and then beckoned spectators to attend the event to find out which political road Trump might venture down.

"Is he running for something? President? New York Governor?" the news release announcing the speech asks.

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