Celebrity Business mogul Donald Trump energized an Onondaga County Republican crowd during a visit Tuesday night. Trump covered a wide range of issues...but said little about the topic everyone wanted to hear.
Let's start with the big question...Donald Trump only once sideswiped the issue of whether he's ready to become a candidate for governor.
"If I win, if I run, win..."
He got no less ambiguous than that, saying he wasn't even thinking about a candidacy, but was asked by party leaders. He repeated the assertion that if the party unified behind him, without any primary he would run. Speculation aside, Trump offered opinions on a lot of issues, starting with the need for more attention on the region.
"Upstate New York has been abandoned, you know it, I know it. And it will be abandoned again for another 3 1/2 years."
His far-ranging address also decried people leaving the state, problems with the tax free offer for businesses of Governor Cuomo's Start Up New York initiative, the need to repeal the SAFE Act gun laws. But his strongest entreaty came in support of expanding natural gas drilling.
"New York state can be tremendously successful because of energy right under your feet. You can pay off debt, have a lot of many left over, reduce your taxes. And yet Governor Cuomo, who I know well, but for whatever reason is not allowing you to go down and get that energy and get all that money, and get all those jobs and make the state successful."
He praised announce G-O-P candidate Rob Astorino, but said he has the problems of little name recognition and little money. Trump also entertained the crowd with tales about his new Florida golf course success, quips denouncing global warming, even his coming to an upstate camp as a kid. County party chair Tom Dadey didn't hold back in his enthusiasm for any hope of a Trump candidacy.
"He's a proven leader. He's a successful businessman. He's a great family guy. He has an interest in politic ladies and gentlemen and you may have been reading about it lately."
But Trump would only go as far as saying the state was winnable by a republican because of issues such as the state's high tax reputation and Cuomo missteps. If Republicans, who paid $175 to $500 a couple to attend, didn't get an answer to that key question, they did get a sense of the high energy opinionated mind he could bring to a race.