Mr. Molinaro, who was elected mayor of Tivoli, N.Y., at 19, had also been unable to completely shed the association with President Trump, who is very unpopular in his home state; although he did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016, he said he could embrace some of his policies if they were helpful to New York.
Mr. Molinaro was also outgunned financially by Mr. Cuomo, an avid and successful fund-raiser who entered the closing days of the campaign with $6.7 million on hand, while Mr. Molinaro had only about $311,000, a pittance considering the costs of ads in New York City. (Mr. Cuomo had spent more than $20 million to handily defeat Ms. Nixon in the primary.)
Mr. Cuomo maximized the power of incumbency, rolling out a steady series of events and official announcements, as well as being a regular presence on news programs in the wake of last month’s bomb attempts on public figures and media outlets. The governor made effective use of the state’s labor unions, which lent their support and resources to help quash Ms. Nixon and Mr. Molinaro.
And Mr. Cuomo gave little oxygen to Mr. Molinaro, accepting only one invitation to debate, resulting in a single fractious hourlong encounter between the two major-party candidates. (Three minor party candidates had also challenged Mr. Cuomo: Stephanie Miner, the former mayor of Syracuse; Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate; and Larry Sharpe, a libertarian.)
Mr. Cuomo has said little about what he specifically wants to do during a third term, though major infrastructure projects have been a passion of his, including a new Hudson River crossing that he named for his father.
Mr. Molinaro and other Republicans had hoped that Mr. Cuomo would be vulnerable despite his obvious advantages. In particular, they hoped that the convictions of a close friend and former top aide, Joseph Percoco, and Mr. Cuomo’s economic guru, Alain E. Kaloyeros, on federal corruption charges earlier this year would give pause to voters far too accustomed to scandals in Albany.