ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra (jee-AHM'-bruh) says he's dropping out of the Republican race for New York state governor and will run as an independent instead.

Giambra announced his decision on Thursday. He says the two major parties are too interested in preserving the status quo. He says he will also seek the Reform Party's nomination for governor.

His departure from the Republican field leaves state Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse as the only prominent GOP contender. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua dropped out of the race last month.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is running for a third term this November. He is considered an early favorite, with big advantages when it comes to fund raising and name recognition in a heavily Democratic state.