Trump to GOP leaders: Keep watching me

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Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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ALBANY—Donald Trump has given boosters of his gubernatorial bid what he insists is a new timetable, pegged to when he finishes filming the latest season of “The Apprentice” in April.

“Donald Trump has spoken to me directly and told me that when he announces his candidacy, he's prepared to put $50 million in a bank account. It takes some effort to amass this. That's occurring, as I understand it, now,” said Monroe County Republican chairman Bill Reilich. “As soon as the filming of [The Apprentice] is complete, he's then going to focus toward the May convention. I don't think he's out of it in any shape: he's just got to get his house in order. And the bigger the house, the longer it takes to get in order.”

Michael Cohen, a Trump aide, didn't confirm or deny the timetable, but reinforced the $50 million pledge.

Andrew Cuomo has at least $33 million in his campaign account.

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Reilich said Trump's latest timetable was “relayed” to him by other Republican leaders who met with the developer during a Tuesday evening appearance in Syracuse. Republican leaders in upstate's three most populous counties—which cover Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse—are holding off on supporting announced candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County Executive, to see what Trump will do.

If he announces, they and other Republican leaders would immediately offer roughly a quarter of the GOP's weighted vote toward a Trump nomination. Astorino has already secured public pledges of roughly the same amount, and at least a third of the weighted GOP committee vote remains up for grabs, a Capital survey found.

Trump said Tuesday that he would likely make a decision about a gubernatorial run within a week, but said he does not want to engage in a primary with Astorino, or anybody else. Whether Trump runs or not, his keeping his name in the mix among GOP officials who continue to take him seriously distracts from Astorino's Cuomo challenge.