By Robert J. McCarthy
Two influential Western New Yorkers involved in Donald J. Trump's potential run for governor are now saying it's time for the Manhattan billionaire to call the question.
Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy and Carl P. Paladino, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor, both said this weekend that the time for Trump to make up his mind is at hand.
"Things have to take shape," Langworthy said. "He has to start taking pro-active actions as a candidate if he's going to get in the race."
Langworthy noted that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has been "well-received" after announcing his Republican candidacy earlier this week but that screening sessions for potential statewide candidates set up by the state party are fasting approaching on March 22.
He said many party leaders now want Trump to declare his intentions.
East Aurora political consultant Michael R. Caputo, who has been informally advising Trump, said the real estate developer still has plenty of time.
"Rob Astorino has been thinking about running for governor for more than a year and just announced," he said. "Donald Trump has been thinking about this for just over two months. He has time."
He also noted that Paladino did not declare his 2010 candidacy until April 5.
Paladino, meanwhile, said he plans to communicate to Trump the need to "give us an indication."
"I would hope he will come out very soon, or we will lose all our momentum," he said.
Paladino also said he continues to give "very serious consideration" to running again in 2014, though he seems to now realize he will not receive the necessary authorization from state Conservative Chairman Michael R. Long -- an Astorino supporter -- to run on that line.
As a result, Paladino said that should Trump decide against a race, he may form his own "Tea Party" line and petition his way onto the statewide ballot.
"I have petitioned before, and I can petiton again," he said, adding he views Astorino as a "nice guy, but he doesn't have that killer instinct."
Though Astorino is in line to receive the Conservative nod, Republicans are not expected to welcome the candidacy of a well-financed and well-recognized Paladino, because it could split the opposition vote against incumbent Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo.