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Trump to appear at county Republican fundraiser

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump will be in the Buffalo area Friday night as he continues to explore a run for governor this year. 

Trump will make an appearance at the Erie County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Leadership Awards Reception at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens in Lancaster. 

The Associated Press reported this week that Trump is in no hurry to make up his mind regarding the gubernatorial race.  He's met with Republicans leaders from across the state, including some from Buffalo, and is pledging to spend millions if he decides to run. 

Trump says he believes Governor Andrew Cuomo is vulnerable because of the state's high taxes and tough, new gun control laws.  Grand Island Tea Party activist Rus Thompson says he and others will be outside Salvatore's to welcome Trump.

"I want Trump to run for governor," Thompson said.  "I want him to defeat Andrew Cuomo.  At this point of time, he's the only one who can do it."

Still, Trump has told Republicans he won't run if there's a party primary.  And right now, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is also interested in the Republican nomination. 

Even if a path is cleared for a Trump candidacy, challenging Cuomo won't be easy.  The incumbent  has a $33 million war chest.  And a recent Siena Research Institute poll shows Cuomo with a healthy lead over Trump at this early stage of the campaign.

WBFO'S Chris Caya will be covering the visit of Trump Friday afternoon.