U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin overwhelmingly won Monday’s unofficial straw poll at the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Forum in Albany. But 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino isn’t giving up.
Astorino told Capital Tonight if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination, he may consider creating another line to run on, as he did in 2014 with the “Stop Common Core” Party.
“Very possible,” he said. “But I do think I’m going to win because I’m going to be the most electable Republican.”
Astorino’s pitch to voters will revolve around his time as county executive in Westchester, which, he said, is diverse and has similarities to the state as a whole.
“It has the eighth largest Jewish population in America; 15% Black; 25% Hispanic – a lot of new immigrants coming into Westchester’s inner cities with Yonkers and Mount Vernon and others," Astornino said. "[It has] rural areas and various suburban areas as well, all within Westchester – a must-win county,” he said. “Too many Republicans have gotten annihilated in Westchester.It is a deep blue county.”
It should be noted that Astorino lost his last foray into county electoral politics in 2017 to current County Executive George Latimer, a Democrat.
So, what will be different in 2022 that might lead Astorino to victory in the governor’s race? He told Capital Tonight that the Republican Party in New York will be much more cohesive.
“In ’14, with many top-layer Republicans like Chris Christie, Dean Skelos, some county executives absolutely running with Cuomo, running against me – that, I think, really hurt,” he said. “That disunity will not be there this time.”