Republican County Executive To Take Shot At Governor, Might Have To Deal With Trump

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has announced he’ll challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November.

Astorino revealed his decision Wednesday morning in a video posted on his website and on Twitter.

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“I’m in! Let’s put New York in the winning column again,” Astorino tweeted.

“I’m announcing my candidacy today for governor of New York State because I’m tired of listening to the fairy tale that everything is just great when it’s just the opposite; I’m tired of watching New York’s decline; living in New York shouldn’t sound like a prison sentence, but that’s too often what you hear today,” Astorino said in the video.

He believes the state can do better than it has done under Cuomo’s leadership.

“New York’s number one in all the wrong things under this governor and we’re paying a price for it,” Astorino said. “We have the highest taxes in the country, the worst business climate, the most corrupt government, and the second highest electric rates anywhere.”

On Thursday, Astorino will embark on a Bronx-to-Buffalo statewide whistle stop tour to highlight his pro-business, pro-economic development, pro-gun, pro-charter school platform, CBS 2′ Marcia Kramer reported.

The Republican has predicted he can win enough voters upstate and in the suburbs to overcome the heavy Democratic vote in New York City.

Astorino has won twice as county executive in heavily Democratic Westchester County and he’s hoping that will give him a boost in running against Cuomo and his massive $33 million war chest, Kramer reported.

But the 46-year-old will face challenges in name recognition and fundraising.

“Three quarters of the voters in this state don’t know enough about Rob Astorino to have an opinion of him,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane. “Right now 60 percent of voters in this state view Cuomo favorably.”

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“No Republican has won statewide in New York in now 12 years, since George Pataki won his third term as governor in ’02,” Greenberg added.

Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Poll, said Astorino will have his work cut out for him.

“The state registration figures and the early match-ups against Cuomo do not suggest anything but a very uphill fight,” Miringoff said.

Astorino also faces another problem: the possibility of a primary from Donald Trump, who has the support of about 70 percent of the Republican county chairmen, who will decide the official nominee, Kramer reported. Sources said Trump is seriously considering a run.

“Rob Astorino’s announcement will do little to curb the vast movement by the majority of GOP leaders who all are committed to a Donald Trump candidacy. Their belief is that only Donald Trump has the ability to win the gubernatorial race and defeat Cuomo,” Trump senior counsel Michael Cohen said in a statement.

Carl Paladino, who ran four years ago, said if Trump doesn’t run, he will, unless Astorino takes on the so-called “RINOs” in the party, which stands for elected officials who are “Republican In Name Only,” Kramer reported.

Meanwhile, Astorino has been working to line up donors.

“It’s not just about money, but it’s about money,” he said. “Unless you raise enough to get the message out, you’re just sort of talking to yourself.”

There has been no comment from Cuomo. One Westchester County Democratic legislator said Astorino shouldn’t run because he was just re-elected as county executive and has obligations to fulfill full time, Kramer reported.

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