Governor Andrew Cuomo will face a popular Republican county executive this fall when he stands for re-election in November, as the state Republican Party on Thursday formally nominated Rob Astorino of Westchester County at their state convention in Rye Brook. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
RYE BROOK, N.Y. - Rob Astorino has been elected county executive twice in Democratic-leaning Westchester County. It's a a distinction he often highlights as he runs statewide in New York, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.
On the second day of the Republican state convention, Astorino was formally nominated to take on Governor Andrew Cuomo. Astorino's central message is that New York State can do better.
"New York has the highest property taxes in America, 50th out of 50. It has the highest overall tax burden, 50th out of 50. It was just rated the worst place to retire in America, 50th out of 50," Astorino said.
For a Republican to win in New York, the candidate must rely on a big upstate and suburban voter turnout. Throughout the speech, Astorino sounded like he was speaking to those communities, where resentments of big government can sometimes exist.
"Governor Cuomo's Albany is preying on counties, municipalities and school districts. Across the state, these districts are buckling under his mandates," Astorino said. "Go ahead. Ask Syracuse. Ask Rockland. Ask Nassau. Ask Yonkers. Ask Erie."
Astorino will have the backing of the party and will avoid a divisive primary. He'll also have the Conservative ballot line.
"Both the Conservative and the Republican party are going to be united in this fight to bring back New York to greatness again," said Mike Long, chairman of the Conservative Party.
The two-day convention drove home a message of inclusiveness and diversity, as the Republicans seemed determined to make it clear that the party has a big tent. The New York State Log Cabin Republicans, the oldest gay Republican group in the nation, were part of the convention, for example, even though Astorino opposes gay marriage.
"This is a new modern Republican party, and Rob is a new Republican," said Gerard Gershonowitz of the Log Cabin Republicans. "He's the future, and I'm hoping that he continues forward and that he wins in November."
"Next week, it's the Democrats' turn. They will meet mid-week for their convention on Long Island, where it is expected that Cuomo will be formally nominated as he seeks a second term.
Web Extra: Astorino Acceptance Speech [Full]
TWC News: Astorino Accepts Nomination at State GOP Convention
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