The long-simmering race for governor heated up Tuesday with the launch of attack ads targeting Republican candidate Rob Astorino, who was in the city trying to rally the business community and taking some shots at Mayor Bill de Blasio in the process. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was making a rare swing through the city Tuesday, from Midtown to Chinatown to the Bronx.
He was also all over the airwaves. A pair of new TV ads highlight the fact that Westchester was penalized for failing to comply with a settlement related to federal anti-discriminatory housing laws. Astorino refutes the government's claims, and while the ads were funded by the state Democratic Party, he took aim at Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"Andrew Cuomo did the despicable path right away," Astorino said.
He also responded in a web video.
"How dare you throw out the race card when you know it doesn't apply. Have you no shame?" he said in the video.
The ads distracted from Astorino's focus on economic issues. He toured Chinatown, met with taxi drivers in the Bronx and, at a forum hosted by Crain's New York Business, issued a call to arms to the business community, arguing that it too often supports anti-business candidates.
"New York City arguably just elected the most anti-business mayor in history, yet many in the business community jumped on his bandwagon once they thought he might win," Astorino said. "I think that's suicidal."
Astorino was met with a positive response in Chinatown, where he met with several business and civic groups, preaching his message of creating a more business-friendly climate through fewer taxes and regulations.
"Taxes are driving out people," he said. "The regulations are crushing small businesses."
The message resonated in some corners.
"We wish you the best, and we'll be here to support you," said one business owner.
Expect the sparks between Astorino and Cuomo to continue to fly.