Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy has recommended the state party require all potential gubernatorial candidates to officially enter the race by the NYGOP Federal Convention on March 2. Langworthy proposed the deadline in a letter to his fellow county chairs today.

“Those candidates that want to run with our Party’s support should by that date be prepared to declare their candidacy and address the assembled delegates. Without a structured deadline, this process will drag on for far too long and be an impediment to the success of our eventual nominee,” he wrote.

Currently, there are three active candidates who have formally declared: state Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, and former State Housing Commissioner Joe Holland. Meanwhile, some GOP officials are attempting to draft Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who said he’s not dismissing the effort.

Langworthy noted, in most regions of the state, the declared candidates have presented their case for the nomination. Erie County hosted a formal debate earlier this month.

In his letter, Langworthy also suggested all of the candidates get 15 minutes each at the convention to make their final pitches before a planned straw poll of all the county chairs.

“I offer these suggestions to move us closer towards Republican victories in November up and down the ballot,” he wrote. “I hope that this starts further dialogue. We have important decisions ahead as a Republican Party and I look forward to seeing you all in Saratoga Springs next week.”