Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino launched his campaign announcement tour in the Bronx Thursday morning, saying he is focused on lowering the state's unemployment rate. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Choosing the Bronx, where unemployment is at the highest rate of any county in the state, Rob Astorino said Thursday that he will fight for all New Yorkers. He compared himself to Ronald Reagan, who campaigned in the South Bronx in 1980.
"We are one New York, but there are large parts of New York, including right here in the Bronx, where we are losing badly," Astorino said. "We are losing our people. We're losing our children after they leave college."
Astorino officially announced his candidacy Wednesday in a video release over the Internet. He is spending the rest of the week touring the state.
After his Bronx appearance, Astorino traveled to Buffalo. On Friday, he'll be in Syracuse, Rochester and Albany.
The Westchester County executive is the only declared candidate on the Republican side, but real estate mogul Donald Trump has also been talking about running.
"Donald and I have had a good relationship. We really have. He's been a supporter of mine," Astorino said. "I love the way he creates business. If he chooses not to run, I would ask for his support."
Trump spoke at a conservative convention in Washington and avoided talking too much about his possible rival.
"Everybody wants my support," he said.
Although Astorino represents the Democratic-leaning county of Westchester, his views on some social issues are conservative, and he can likely expect issue-specific protests throughout the campaign.
"Rob Astorino has a terrible record on gun safety," said Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. "He opposes the New York Safe Act, which is a landmark gun safety law."
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at an event in lower Manhattan, but wouldn't say much about his challenger.
"There'll be a Republican primary now, or not. The Republicans will pick a candidate," Cuomo said. "From the information that I can tell from the great reporting that's done in the city and the state of New York, I think there are several candidates who are thinking about it or are running."
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed Cuomo's approval rating dipping down to 42 percent statewide, the lowest it's been during his tenure.
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TWC News: Astorino Launches Governor Bid in the Bronx, Puts Focus on Jobs
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