The state Republican chairman said Monday that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld should drop out of the race for the GOP nomination for governor of New York.
Stephen Minarik — who up to now has been Weld's biggest supporter in the race for governor — said Weld should instead throw his support to his Republican rival, former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.
Minarik told The Associated Press that he had personally conveyed his feelings to Weld and that the former governor was "placing it under consideration."
At the state GOP convention last week, Faso won a surprising 61 percent of the delegates' weighted vote and held Weld, a New York native, to 39 percent.
Minarik said Weld should withdraw "in the name of party unity."
If Weld does not heed the advice, the party faces a potentially bruising and expensive September primary in the battle to replace Republican Gov. George Pataki, who is not seeking a fourth, four-year term.
Polls have shown state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic front-runner for governor, far ahead of either Faso or Weld.
There was no immediate comment from Weld or Faso, though a Weld spokeswoman had said earlier in the day that he would not quit the race.