COOPERSTOWN — Newly-minted GOP gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino said Thursday night that New York has become “the most corrupt state in America” under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and contended he could defeat the Democratic incumbent in November by focusing on such issues as taxes and a controversial gun law.
Speaking to about 150 supporters at the Otesaga Hotel, Astorino drew rousing applause after he ripped the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, saying: “He’s been a dirty politician his whole life.”
Astorino said what he argued is his own winning message is getting to Cuomo, who has been “pulling the panic button” and authorizing a stream of negative attacks that the Republican said portray him as a racist, a charge he called “despicable.”
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, is accused in television ads sponsored by the state Democratic Party of violating federal anti-discrimination laws in his county. The county has been involved in a dispute with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development — an agency that had been run by Cuomo during the administration of President Bill Clinton — over the creation of low income housing. Astorino’s position has been that HUD violates local zoning statutes.
Astorino, the featured guest at a dinner hosted by Otsego County Republican Party, also knocked Cuomo for having had no public appearances in Otsego County for at least three years. He said that, as governor, he will visit all 62 counties in the state every year. It was Astorino’s first campaign stop after receiving the state party’s nomination for governor at its annual convention earlier in the day.
Citing his own victory in Westchester County where enrolled Democrats outnumber Republican voters by nearly 2-1, Astorino said he is convinced he can overcome the odds against him by zooming in on such economic issues as high taxes, which he said have driven some 400,000 people out of state in the last four years.