BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Republican Rob Astorino announced his bid for governor on Wednesday, setting up a possible primary battle between the Westchester County Executive and billionaire businessman Donald Trump.
“New York’s #1 in all the wrong things under this governor, and we’re paying a price for it. We have the highest taxes in the country, the worst business climate, the most corrupt government and the second-highest electric rates, anywhere,” Astorino said.
In his campaign announcement video, Astorino promises to cut taxes and spending. He attacks many of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s policies and initiatives, including the SAFE Act.
Instead of leading, Governor Cuomo is dividing us, by demonizing law-abiding gun owners,” he stated.
And he decries the Common Core education standards – although Cuomo himself had no influence in how Common Core was implemented.
Astorino said, “Make no mistake about it, as governor, I will get rid of Cuomo’s Common Core and replace it with better standards, teaching and testing, all set and controlled at the local level.”
In fact, the Board of Regents controls how those standards are implemented, not the governor’s office. However, both the Assembly and Senate are considering bills that would tweak some of Common Core’s more controversial aspects.
Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy likes Astorino’s platform, including plans to create more charter schools and cut taxes
“Rob is a strong conservative; he’s someone that believes in the Constitution, the Second Amendment. He’s fought to lower taxes and create jobs in Westchester County. I think that’s sorely – those principles are sorely needed in Albany,” he said.
But New York Republicans already have a big-name potential candidate on their radar – Donald Trump. However, the billionaire businessman has said he does not want to have to run in a GOP primary.
Langworthy said, “I don’t want a primary. I don’t think Rob Astorino wants a primary. As Republicans, we need to come together and unify behind one, solitary candidate to give our party the best shot at defeating this governor in the fall.”
While Trump hasn’t formally declared himself as a candidate yet, Astorino will spend the rest of this week touring the state, making an appearance in Buffalo Thursday afternoon.
“If he’s ultimately to become our nominee, as Republicans, he’s someone I could enthusiastically back,” Langworthy said.