While the governor's trip abroad is getting plenty of attention, his top Republican rival is still struggling to get noticed here in New York. Time Warner Cable News' Nick Reisman filed the following report for NY1.
ALBANY - With Governor Andrew Cuomo in Israel for a two-day trip, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is trying to find inventive ways to raise his profile, like taking the ice bucket challenge for ALS.
"I now challenge Andrew Cuomo, Jeff Klein, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver. Do you accept? You got 24 hours," Astorino said.
With three months to go before Election Day, Astorino's efforts to make political hay out of the Moreland Commission controversy have not made much progress.
"It's still unfolding," Astorino said in a radio interview. "I mean, we're only three weeks into something that is very major, and people are starting to understand it."
A big part of the problem is fundraising. While Cuomo has $35 million in cash on hand, Astorino has about $2 million in the bank, and that means he can't match Cuomo's paid air time on statewide TV.
Voters, meanwhile, just aren't paying attention to the controversy over the governor's involvement in the Moreland Commission and the subsequent federal investigation.
"It's not a huge issue in terms of who voters are supporting, but what Astorino needs to be able to do is tell the message about this federal investigation, tell the message of Moreland that the press has been reporting on for three weeks, get that through to the consciousness of voters," said Steve Greenberg, a Siena College pollster.
Meanwhile, Astorino isn't criticizing Cuomo's trip to Israel in the middle of an election year, saying in an interview that politics stops at the water's edge.
"We should speak with one voice when it comes to Israel and against Hamas and the terrorist agency," Astorino said.
Political observers say Astorino can still find some traction against Cuomo, especially if a grand jury issues any indictments in the Moreland mess. But until then, Cuomo's wide lead and cash advantage may be tough to overcome.