In a remarkably rancor-free convention, the state Republicans yesterday anointed the top of their ticket by picking Rob Astorino to lead them in their Quixotic quest to topple King Cuomo.
A smart and likeable politician, Astorino deftly delivered his 29-minute acceptance speech, a mix of talking up what he's achieved in Westchester as county executive with a string of attacks against Cuomo and his administration.
But Astorino has several major hurdles to jump in order to make it to the governor's mansion. There's that little problem with campaign cash. At last count, one of them raised $33 million and the other had $1 million – and you don't have to be an accountant to figure out which one is Cuomo's bankbook.
Then there's those pesky social issues. Astorino is getting the Conservative Party's Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval when it comes to abortion, gay marriage, and guns. Those positions – along with a battle with the federal government over integrating housing in Westchester – threaten to derail Astorino's candidacy before it really has left the station.
Still, it's clear that with the state's Common Core curriculum, the gun control law known as the Safe Act, and Cuomo's dilly-dallying on natural gas drilling, Republicans have seized on things that are angering voters upstate. But it's a real challenge for the party to see if those issues will have the same resonance in New York City and its suburbs – where a majority of the state's voters now preside.
There was some GOP hope and excitement in Westchester yesterday – let's see how long it takes for Andrew Cuomo to try to drum it out of them at his party's convention next week.