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Chris Collins for governor chatter heats up

New York Post columnist Fred Dicker writes today that the state GOP is taking a look at Erie County Executive Chris Collins as a potential candidate for governor.

Some thoughts from Dicker:

GOP leaders say Erie County Executive Chris Collins, a wealthy, charismatic, conservative-oriented entrepreneur and government reformer is interested.

Collins, who won a surprising landslide victory in the heavily Democratic county in 2007, would make a great candidate, they say.

"He recently came to see me, and I came away sure he was interested in running for governor," former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato told The Post.

"I think he'd be a very formidable candidate."

Chris collins A few questions from me:

Isn't this a bit premature?

I mean, Collins has been in office for only 17 months. How will his search for greener pastures so soon after taking office play with the locals? Didn't he run saying Erie County needed a chief executive, not a chief politician?

Considering his short tenure, he hasn't had the time to accomplish anything that would demonstrate his qualifications to serve as the state's CEO. That's no knock against him, but a reflection of the fact he's been in office less than a year-and-a-half, with no prior government experience.

Is the GOP really interested in Collins or already desperate for a candidate in the event Rudy Giuliani decides not to run?

Think of it: When the last time the party ran an upstater at the top of the ticket? 

Would a Collins run be much more than a vanity candidacy?

Given the state of the state GOP, its candidate faces a long, hard slog, unless Paterson somehow survives to top the ticket. And if  Paterson is the guy, Giuliani is regarded as the likely opponent.

Collins vs. Cuomo? Gee, I'd like to see the Vegas odds on that one. I'm not sure Collins even carries Erie County.

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