Billionaire businessman says Sen. McCain urged him to run for New York governor |

Billionaire businessman says Sen. McCain urged him to run for New York governor

ALBANY, N.Y. – Billionaire businessman B. Thomas Golisano, who has run three losing races for New York governor as an Independence Party candidate, said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain has urged him to make a fourth run – this time as a Republican.”He did call me,” Golisano told The Associated Press. “He was very personable and said the Republican Party could use people like me, and that he’d love to have me as a candidate.”There was no immediate comment from McCain, the Arizona Republican, who is on a trip to Alaska this week with Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a New York Democrat. But McCain political adviser John Weaver confirmed the senator had called Golisano and urged him to run.”I said I had a big decision to make and as soon as I make it, he’ll be one of the first people to know,” said Golisano.The Rochester-based businessman and owner of the National Hockey league’s Buffalo Sabres said he expects to decide “probably within the next 60 to 90 days.”Golisano spent $75 million of his own money in the 2002 governor’s race, most of it attacking Republican Gov. George Pataki, and finished a distant third with 14 percent of the vote. The businessman is a founder of New York’s Ross Perot-inspired Independence Party.McCain and Clinton, according to national polls, are front-runners for their respective parties’ 2008 presidential nominations. A Golisano victory would give the Arizona senator a friend in New York’s Executive Mansion.State GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik said months ago he would be willing to talk to Golisano about a gubernatorial candidacy if Pataki didn’t run. The party leader backed off after learning Pataki was not pleased with the notion.Last month, Pataki said he would not seek a fourth term. Democrat Eliot Spitzer, New York’s attorney general, has announced that he is running for governor.Also on Tuesday, a top New York Republican official said former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has begun laying the groundwork for his own likely run for New York governor.The party official, a friend of Weld’s, told the AP that Weld would likely make his intentions public at a meeting with regional GOP leaders Sept. 8.”He is definitely on that path,” said the GOP official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not have Weld’s permission to speak publicly on the matter.Weld had said in April that he would seriously consider seeking the GOP nomination for governor of New York if Pataki did not seek a fourth term.Vail – Colorado

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