Mr. Giuliani said that his father, whose zealous efforts to overturn the 2020 election results have made him a pariah among many New Yorkers, would campaign for him in coming weeks, and he offered an apparent defense of his father’s actions onstage after the two made the rounds in the hotel lobby.
Mr. Giuliani — who branded Gov. Kathy Hochul “Crime Wave Kathy” — was warmly received, but he secured only .75 percent of the vote at the convention.
Whatever the primary result, Ms. Hochul, the likely Democratic nominee and a relative moderate, would be a formidable opponent.
“That’s going to be much tougher for Republicans, notwithstanding that the congressman, Lee Zeldin, is a very fine person,” said former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, a Republican. “The Trump business, though, is going to hurt him.”
Mr. Wilson is viewed privately by some Democrats as a stronger general election contender, but it has often been difficult for candidates who did not support Mr. Trump to survive Republican primaries. Mr. Wilson voted for him in 2016 but wrote in Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, in 2020, he said.
Mr. Wilson, the party’s 2010 nominee for comptroller, cast himself as a political outsider with a strong business record — “someone with a fresh perspective, someone who can channel our anger for change, not just yell the loudest,” he said.
Representative Tom Reed, a Republican in the state’s Southern Tier, said he was concerned that his party was headed for a messy primary that could undercut its chances in a race for governor that is already an “uphill battle.”
“My hope is that it’s not bloody,” said Mr. Reed, who was contemplating his own bid for governor before he was accused of inappropriately touching a lobbyist. “Because we all know winning the governor’s office in New York is a very, very difficult path to traverse for a Republican, even in a wave year.”