By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Putting aside the polling and money advantages and the power of incumbency held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino made it official this morning with an announcement that he is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Cuomo this fall.
Astorino jumped into the race to take on the heavily bankrolled Cuomo via a video message his campaign released this morning.
Astorino, who has won two county-wide elections in Westchester where registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans, has vowed to make the state’s economy a priority of his run against Cuomo. [Still in the mix for the Republicans, despite a considerable dose of skepticism by many GOP leaders, is billionaire Donald Trump, who for several months has been weighing a run against Cuomo.]
“I’m announcing my candidacy for governor of New York state because I’m tired of listening to the fairy tale that everything is just great when everything is just the opposite,’’ Astorino said in his six-minute video. Spinning off a line from Ronald Reagan, Astorino said he will ask New Yorkers to consider a question in choosing between him and Cuomo. “I have a simple question for New Yorkers: are we winning or are we losing today?’’
Astorino blasted Cuomo for overseeing what he said is the highest-taxed state with the worst business climate and for raising taxes and imposing more mandates while not making a decision on natural gas fracking and “demonizing gun owners.’’
He sought to portray Cuomo as out of touch by proposing a plan to give free college education to prison inmates at a time when families cannot afford to send their children to college. And he lashed out at what he termed “Cuomo’s common core,’’ the Board of Regents program involving standardized testing and teacher evaluations.
“After four years, it’s clear he’s not leading at all,’’ said Astorino, wearing no jacket but a white dress shirt and blue tie.
taggedAlbany | Andrew Cuomo