Island Vote: Molinaro battles political giant Cuomo in governor’s race

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Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is challenging two-term incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor.

Marc Molinaro was elected trustee in an upstate village at 18 and became mayor two years later. For the past six years, he's been the county executive of Dutchess County. He says he accomplished all of that from a blue-collar upbringing.

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MORE: Cuomo, Molinaro spar in only debate in NY governor's race

“We have been the beacon of hope and opportunity for thousands, millions upon millions of people, every generation the world over,” Molinaro has said. “We have been a place that says to a kid on food stamps you can grow up to run for governor of the state of New York. “

But Molinaro faces someone who is considered to be a political giant. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking his third term in Albany. He points to the state's adoption of same sex marriage, the property tax cap and a balanced budget as his accomplishments. He also says his opponent is out of step with New Yorkers.

“The extreme conservative wing that Mr. Molinaro and Mr. Trump represent exclude everyone,” Cuomo has said.

For any Republican candidate running for statewide office in New York, the numbers are stacked against them. New York City voters make up about 41 percent of all voters in New York state. And of New York City voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6 to 1.

“It's very hard for a Republican to win statewide,” says political analyst Michael Dawidziak. “There needs to be an extraordinarily dynamic candidate, or an overwhelming issue that works against Democrats for a Republican to win statewide."

Cuomo has a large lead in both the polls and in campaign funds, something analysts say that Cuomo may be banking on for an even higher office.

“Maybe he was only kidding when he said there's no way I'm running for president,” says political analyst Larry Levy. “Well he needs a really, really big number in November to re-establish his viability.”

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