Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced Wednesday that he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November.
While several Senate Republicans in the Capital Region had praise for Astorino, they did not commit to supporting him as the Republican candidate at this point.
So far, Astorino is the only Republican who has announced his candidacy for governor. He could face a primary challenge from others who want the nomination.
“I presume that every Republican will support the [nominated] Republican candidate,” said Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna. “That’s the general case. Republicans will back Republicans.”
Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said Astorino is an attractive and impressive candidate for governor.
“There is no question Rob Astorino has a great record in Westchester County of lowering taxes, controlling spending and creating the right environment for job creation,” Seward said.
Astorino posted a video on his website, RobAstorino.com, announcing his gubernatorial run. The video features the many reasons why he believes New York is declining under Cuomo’s reign.
“I’m tired of listening to the fairy tale that everything is just great when it’s just the opposite,” Astorino said in the video. “I’m tired of watching New York’s decline.”
Astorino was elected for a second term as county executive in November. Westchester is Cuomo’s home county, which has a majority of Democrats. New York is also a “blue state.”
Seward said Astorino “obviously” has strong political skills to be elected twice as a Republican in Westchester.
“Rob Astorino has a lot of work to do in terms of building his name and covering the state,” Seward said. “But he has the political skills to be successful in this race statewide.”
Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, said he “absolutely” supports Astorino for governor and agreed with Seward that his accomplishments can be expanded across the state.
“He has been successful twice in Westchester and proved the service he is providing crosses party lines,” Tedisco said. “I think that scares the pants off this governor. My Republican colleagues have been holding their breath and now they are finally letting it out. This is exactly what we need in the state of New York.”
Other potential candidates who have flirted with the idea of running for governor include celebrity billionaire Donald Trump and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who ran against Cuomo on the Republican line in 2010.
“While the Republican State Committee has not made a formal endorsement, Rob Astorino shares many of the principles that I have fought for,” said Sen. Kathleen Marchione, R-Halfmoon. “He would make a good candidate.”
Astorino has traveled the state over the past few weeks meeting with potential supporters. He has also pushed back against several of Cuomo’s proposals in the 2014-15 state budget.
“I have a simple question for New Yorkers,” Astorino said. “As a state, are we winning or are we losing? Because if New York is winning, re-elect Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But if New York is losing, and the evidence says it is, we need to make a change.”
Astorino voiced opposition to the state’s Common Core learning standards, which have received widespread criticism from educators and parents statewide. He also said he supports hydraulic fracturing for job creation in the Southern Tier.
“New York is No. 1 in all of the wrong things under this governor, and we are paying a price for it,” Astorino said.