Ending months of speculation about his political future, Republican Rob Astorino announced Wednesday that he will challenge Andrew Cuomo for governor. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Facing a shortage of campaign cash and limited statewide name recognition, Rob Astorino officially announced his candidacy for governor Wednesday using a low-key rollout.
"I'm Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and 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," Astorino said in a video posted to the Internet.
Astorino won re-election this past fall in the Westchester, where Democrats hold a plurality. So far, he's the only Republican to officially enter the race.
Critics of Cuomo say that New York continues to lose jobs, which is forcing people to leave the state.
"Since Andrew Cuomo has been governor, New York has lost more of its citizens than any other state," Astorino said in his video. "More than 400,000 New Yorkers have thrown in the towel and left for a lower cost of living or job opportunities elsewhere."
Astorino is facing a significant financial hurdle, as Cuomo has amassed $33 million in his campaign war chest. According to his last filing, Astorino only had about $1 million.
"I guess the Republicans had to find someone, anyone, someone with a pulse," said Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan.
New Yorkers have not voted out a sitting first-term governor since 1958. Cuomo won his first term in 2010 against Buffalo-area businessman Carl Paladino handily, by nearly 30 percentage points.
Astorino will likely face a coordinated campaign against him from abortion-rights advocates.
"We know that he is anti-choice. He has said that repeatedly," said Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. "And he's not only used to the bully pulpit to do that, he used his position as Westchester County executive to veto legislation that would protect access to reproductive health facilities."
Astorino is by no means guaranteed the Republican nomination. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is flirting with a possible gubernatorial run, and even Paladino hasn't ruled out a second campaign.
An official candidate will be selected at the Republican convention in May.