Kolb, R-Canandaigua, chose to give his support to a former Assembly colleague and longtime friend over state Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-DeWitt, whose core of support is in the state Senate.
“I can say with confidence that he is everything Albany needs, because he is everything that Albany is not,” Kolb said of Molinaro in a statement announcing his endorsement.
“For seven years, New York has moved down an unsustainable path, with corruption at an all-time high and public trust at an all-time low,” Kolb said. “In contrast, Marc has established himself as a proven leader who actually listens. He has been a partner to the people he serves.”
Kolb is among more than two dozen members of the New York State Republican Conference who were expected to publicly endorse Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive.
Among them is state Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, the first GOP member of the state legislature from Central New York to publicly part ways with DeFrancisco in the governor’s race.
Barclay told syracuse.com in an interview that it was a tough decision since he has great respect for DeFrancisco and Molinaro. But in the end he backed Molinaro, noting the two became good friends in 2006 while serving together in the Assembly.
Barclay said he liked the fact that Molinaro, 42, is a relatively young candidate who has a track record of working with people to bridge the political divide.
“I think he has the ability to bring people together and look at the executive branch a little differently,” Barclay said of Molinaro.
Molinaro surged past DeFrancisco on Friday to become the GOP front-runner, only a week after Molinaro told Republican leaders he planned to run for governor.
Molinaro has received endorsements from GOP county committees representing more than 40 percent of the weighted vote at the Republican nominating convention, due to take place in May. DeFrancisco has locked up about 20 percent of the vote.
Anyone who receives more than 50 percent of the convention vote automatically receives the GOP ballot line in the November election against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.