New York Republican officials will meet Friday morning in Saratoga Springs, ostensibly to pick a candidate to back against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

But the sub rosa topic de jour for committee officials and chairmen will be to clarify the unsettled field in the race for the gubernatorial primary.

On the paper, the frontrunner for the nomination is Sen. John DeFrancisco, a state lawmaker from Syracuse, who is better known and draws more support than the other declared candidates, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra and Joe Holland, a former housing official in Gov. George Pataki’s administration.

But a potential challenge to DeFrancisco’s primacy in his bid for the GOP nomination could come from Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is now publicly reconsidering his announcement that he would not run statewide this year.

In an interview on Talk-1300 on Thursday, former Rep. Chris Gibson said he expected Molinaro to launch a campaign.

“We need to bring a sense of accountability and responsibility to Albany,” Gibson told Fred Dicker on his “Focus On The State Capitol” radio show. “I believe Marcus is going to do it.”

At the heart of the concerns over DeFrancisco has been his record in Albany and votes in favor of budgets submitted by Cuomo. Gibson, who dropped his own plans to run for governor, said Molinaro would be a candidate relatively unconnected to the Legislature (Molinaro is a former state Assembly lawmaker, who was elected county executive in 2010).

“If we want a clear contrast, someone who is not part of those votes, we need Marc Molinaro,” Gibson said. “He balances both youth and experience and vigor.”

Republican chairs, meanwhile, are expected to conduct an informal poll on their choice for governor.

Manhattan GOP Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis in an email to New York City Republicans said she was seeking their input before casting a vote.

“I believe it is my duty to represent you, my Manhattan Republican constituents, which is why I want to ask your opinions before I cast my vote,” she wrote in an email sent Thursday morning.

Republican Chairman Ed Cox, meanwhile, sought to steer clear of the controversy surrounding the Republican gubernatorial slate. Speaking with Dicker, Cox insisted enough time was left between now and the Republican convention in May to settle on a nominee.

“My role is to make sure all qualified candidates get out there and make their case and it’s up to the members of the committee to make their choice,” Cox said, adding, “It’s great to see this kind of back and forth. We want to find the best candidate.”