In a development that could help Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, an independent candidate said Thursday he will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign now that he has been granted a spot on the ballot.
Thomas Golisano, chairman of the Rochester-area firm Paychex, acted after the state Board of Elections ruled Wednesday that he could be on the ballot as a candidate of the newly created Independence Fusion Party.
Golisano, an admirer of Ross Perot, is running on a platform that calls for cutting corporate taxes and slashing spending.
He said he will blanket the state with television, radio and newspaper ads and predicted he might spend between $8 million and $10 million of his own money on the campaign.
Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a fourth term, is in a very close race against Republican George Pataki. Golisano is potentially Pataki’s worst nightmare, because Republicans fear that the businessman could steal anti-Cuomo votes and damage Pataki’s chances.
Victor Cipolla, a Pataki supporter, had asked the elections board to keep Golisano off the ballot. Cipolla said he still wasn’t sure Thursday whether Golisano’s candidacy would be challenged in court.
Golisano said he didn’t worry about being a spoiler. He said he saw little difference between Cuomo and Pataki.
“I don’t think either one of them are in the position of being able to create much change,” he said.
The 52-year-old businessman runs a company that produces payroll checks for corporations. He estimates his net worth at $140 million. He said he first voted two years ago when he backed Perot’s presidential campaign.