State Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, said fellow Republican Rob Astorino is “a magnificent candidate” for governor, adding that he has seen a lot, “almost going back to Teddy Roosevelt.”
Farley, 82, was cracking a joke about his age, but he was serious about the gubernatorial candidate from Westchester County and his recently named running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.
“This is a winning Republican team,” said Farley, who is the senior member of the state Senate. “Astorino is a magnificent candidate, and his lieutenant governor is a rock star. That is what we are going to have and what we need in New York state.”
A day after he received the Republican nomination for governor at the state GOP convention in Rye Brook, Astorino visited Scotia on Friday morning and picked up endorsements from Capital Region Republican lawmakers.
Astorino headlined Assemblyman Jim Tedisco’s annual breakfast fundraiser at the Glen Sanders Mansion, which attracted more than 200 people. Tedisco described the event and Astorino as incredible.
“Our candidate for governor chose our district to support all of our Assembly and Senate candidates and made his first major speech here,” said Tedisco, R-Glenville. “I think you really felt the energy and the excitement in this room.”
Tedisco said everyone was too excited to eat breakfast and drink coffee, even though the event started at 8 a.m. Astorino was scheduled to leave by 9 to drive to Utica, but he stayed an extra hour to take photos and talk politics.
The room was packed with area Republicans, including Farley; Tedisco, state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon; and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, R-Melrose. Senate candidate George Amedore, Assembly candidates Steve Stallmer and Peter Vroman, and congressional candidate Jim Fischer were also in attendance.
“Rob is a proven leader and a true reformer who gets real results,” Marchione said. “He cares about people and making New York the place we know it can be and the place we all want it to be. We will chart a new direction for a better, less costly Empire State.”
Astorino said if he is elected governor, he would work to repeal the state’s gun-control law, overturn the implementation of Common Core learning standards and bring jobs to upstate cities like Schenectady.
He received booming applause from the crowd at his reference to the NY SAFE Act, which was signed into law by Cuomo in January 2013 and puts a ban on high-capacity magazines, creates a registry of previously owned assault weapons and requires background checks on ammunition and gun sales in the state.
The Westchester County executive said he has helped lower taxes, cut spending and increase the number of private-sector jobs in the downstate county — and he would push to do the same statewide.
“This November, we are going to do the steamrolling,” Astorino said. “Our message is one of hope because there are so many people that have given up hope in this state.”
Astorino said he keeps hearing the same narrative: “You can’t win.” He said he heard those same three words five years ago when he first ran for county executive in Westchester County, where the overwhelming majority of registered voters are Democrats.
The latest Siena Research Institute poll shows Cuomo with a 30-point lead over Astorino in the race for governor. Cuomo also has more than $30 million in his war chest, compared to Astorino’s $1 million.
Tedisco said he believes more New Yorkers will support Astorino as he continues to spread a message that “embraces diversity and crosses party lines.”
“He is in a county that is overwhelmingly 5 to 1 with Democrats, but he won two times by double-digit figures in Westchester County,” Tedisco said. “Now the naysayers are saying in New York state, it is 2 to 1, but he is going to rejoice in that easy 2 to 1 race. Are you kidding me?”
Astorino told The Daily Gazette after the event that he is overwhelmed by the support he has received from lawmakers and residents in the Capital Region. He said he plans to visit the area often during his campaign.
“We have already been to 46 counties in two months,” he said. “As governor, I promise to be in every county at least once every year. There is no reason why this governor has not visited many counties since he has been elected. That is how you understand what is going on.”
Astorino wrapped up his speech in Scotia with a question he has been repeating since he announced his run for governor in March: “Are we winning, or are we losing?”
It’s not a rhetorical question, he said.
“It will be answered on November 4.”