From the News Albany Bureau:
Has Golisano, the Rochester billionaire who moved to Florida a year ago, lost interest in New York politics?
That’s the question being asked around the state by candidates who have come to rely on his money — as well as those fearful that he would open his wallet to their opponents.
Yet, so far this year, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres has been politically mute.
Golisano has historically relished the role of kingmaker in the state’s politics, arguably master-minding the Senate coup that occurred last year. The article notes his investment in New York state politics, from donations to major party legislative candidates to his own campaigns for office, totals in the $100 million range. Golisano has run for Governor three times on the Independence Party line, losing every time. In 2002 he took 14% of the vote.
While some believe the billionaire is fed up with Empire State politics, others believe he may be waiting to help Carl Paladino, who is currently busy causing a schism in the NY GOP, in his upstart campaign for Governor.
Some insiders say Golisano was disappointed in what his money got in 2008, helping Democrats take over the State Senate. They say Golisano still is weighing options and could get involved in Carl P. Paladino’s bid to become governor on the Republican line and a new party Paladino is trying to create.
Still others say Golisano is having doubts about whether he wants to sink more of his fortune into trying to reshape state government.
“One idea is he comes in late this year, when things are more competitive,” said a state official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Will Golisano stay on the sidelines this year?
“No, I can’t believe he’d ever do that,” said the official who has been close to Golisano.
Yet the same individual noted Golisano’s disillusionment with what has happened to state politics.
“He’s fed up with both sides and sees no hope because we’ve all [messed] up. He may do something crazy like jump in with Paladino,” the official said.
Others note a connection between the two, and months ago, the Buffalo developer spoke of his connections with Golisano.
“Carl and Golisano are friends, and they speak regularly,” one Paladino adviser said. “We haven’t asked for money from Golisano, but now that we’re fundraising, we won’t leave any stones unturned.”