Capitol Watch: Molinaro still mum, Klobuchar helps Cuomo

Published 7:16 am Monday, March 12, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York state government news, Republican Marc Molinaro could be getting closer to formally announcing his campaign for governor and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to require more information about online political ads gets a boost from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

A look at stories making news:

Molinaro maybe

Is this the week that Marc Molinaro makes it official?

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The Republican Dutchess County executive has told party leaders he’s running for governor but has yet to announce his plans to the voters he hopes to serve.

Last week, Molinaro put out nearly a dozen press releases announcing endorsements from county GOP leaders, but still hadn’t had a public campaign kickoff or even a press release announcing his intentions.

Back-to-back nor’easters may have disrupted his schedule.

In a letter to GOP leaders obtained by The Associated Press, Molinaro wrote that he plans to make a formal campaign announcement “in the near future.”

Molinaro had been considered a top potential challenger to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the fall election but said in January that he wouldn’t run.

Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. John DeFrancisco is promising to stay in the race at least until Republicans pick their nominee this spring.

Klobuchar on Cuomo

Cuomo’s proposal to subject political ads on social media to the same kinds of reporting requirements as print, radio and TV ads picked up the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar last week. The Minnesota Democrat has raised concerns about nefarious attempts to use online ads to sway U.S. elections.

Klobuchar and Cuomo held a joint teleconference with reporters to discuss Cuomo’s idea and their call for greater transparency when it comes to the groups behind political ads on Facebook and other sites.

Cuomo is proposing new rules requiring internet platforms and social media companies to maintain a public file of political ads including information about the groups paying for ads. He also wants groups paying for online election ads to register as independent campaign organizations. Foreign groups would be prohibited from placing ads in the first place.

“This is not only a good idea for New York but it’s something the federal government needs to strongly consider,” Klobuchar said.