Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping to get Republicans to cross party lines and throw their support behind his re-election efforts this year, and he kicked off the effort Thursday morning at a campaign event in Manhattan. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
The swanky Harvard club was where Governor Andrew Cuomo chose to make his case to Republicans, although he apparently used a side door, since no one outside saw him arrive or depart Thursday morning.
Perhaps it was the environmental protesters who scared the governor off.
People who were inside told NY1 that he made a solid pitch for support to members of the opposite party.
"So impressive. I'm a staunch Republican, and this guy, if he wasn't a Democrat," said Andrew Sabin of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation. "He's unbelievably, he's bi-partisan, he's doing an unbelievable job. His record is second to none in New York State."
The governor did not ask any of the Republicans for money. He may not need to. A recent campaign filing shows that he has more than $33 million for his campaign, more than any governor in the country.
"Andrew Cuomo asked me to come, and he's a friend of mine, and the Cuomo family has been a friend of mine for 25 years," said John Catsimatidis, a former GOP candidate for mayor.
Republican leaders are urging their party faithful to be wary of Cuomo. They expect to have a candidate who will mount a credible challenge.
"The governor and his people are bullies," said State Republican Chairman Ed Cox. "They understand we have momentum running into 2014 and that we've got two great potential candidates, County Executive Rob Astorino of Westchester County and in Donald Trump."
A filing last month shows Astorino with less than $700,000, but he has been fundraising across the state. He hasn't officially declared his candidacy, and that gives Cuomo room to make the hard sell to Republicans.
"One guy stood up at the end and said, 'How can we help you going forward?' And so, I think you are going to see a lot of support for the governor from the people in that room and from like-minded people across the state," said Michael McKeon, a Republican for Cuomo.
Next week, Republicans are meeting in Albany, where they are expected to discuss their prospects for 2014. Astorino is expected to attend. Trump, who is flirting with a run himself on the GOP line, originally said he would attend, but now says he will not.