NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump, the nation’s most shameless political flirt, is at it again.
This time, the billionaire real estate mogul, reality TV star and perennial self-promoter is toying with the idea of challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying the state’s high taxes and tight gun-control laws make the Democratic incumbent vulnerable.
Trump has met with Republican leaders and has pledged to spend tens of millions of dollars on a potential campaign, though those are the same kind of motions he’s made once before for governor and several times for president over the years without ever actually jumping in.
For now, he’s in no hurry to make up his mind.
“I’ve got time,” he told The Associated Press in an interview this week. “I believe — and many people believe — I’m the only Republican who can win. I think I would win easily.”
Trump, who Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion, has vowed that he’ll only run if the state’s Republican Party rallies behind him and he faces no challengers for the nomination.
“I’ve said it very clearly: If the Republican Party can unify and get their act together, I would spend the money and run,” Trump said.
His rumored entry, however, has been met with some skepticism.
Trump briefly discussed running for governor once before, in 2006, and talked about White House bids in 2000, 2004 and 2008 before pulling the plug every time. He made his most substantial move yet toward running for president in 2012, giving speeches to a number of Republican groups and loudly questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Trump, a favorite in some conservative circles and highly visible thanks to the success of his reality show “The Apprentice,” hovered near the top of some GOP polls in the months before the primary season started.
“I left leading in all the polls,” said Trump, exaggerating his standing somewhat. He denied being a political flirt and expressed some regret for not running, saying he endorsed nominee Mitt Romney, “but unfortunately he let us down. He tried, but he let us down.”
Trump is heading to Buffalo on Friday to meet with Erie County GOP leaders. While he believes Cuomo is vulnerable, it could be a tough challenge.
Cuomo, who was elected in 2010 and may be eyeing a White House run in 2016, has strong poll numbers and a $33 million campaign war chest. On the strength of a massive advantage in liberal New York City, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 statewide.