WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The closer-than-expected Democratic Primary Tuesday may be a preview of what lays ahead for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to his Republican challenger and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Cuomo won the primary with 60 percent of the vote. But, Astorino highlighted the 40 percent who didn’t vote for the incumbent. He says they voted against Cuomo.
“Too many families are struggling and it was an absolute rejection of him from the left, center and right of that party,” Astorino told Daily Voice from his White Plains office Thursday. “And I think that is just a peak into what we’re going to look at over the next several weeks leading up to the election.”
Astorino has been considered a major underdog in the gubernatorial race with little chance of victory. Now that a virtually unknown law professor, Zephyr Teachout, showed well in Tuesday's primary, Astorino says while he loves being the underdog, he believes he can win the race.
“The invincibility is gone and people are expecting now a real race and that’s what they’re going to get,” he said confidently.
While Cuomo has more money, Astorino said that didn’t help him on Tuesday and it won’t help him in November.
“You saw what that meant on Primary Day,” he said. “He had no real ground game. He had no passion with him. Nobody really loves Andrew Cuomo and so what happens is there’s nobody there to really help."
Like Zephyr, Astorino said he has “a huge grass roots movement around New York State.” Additionally, he has the support of Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and now New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who Astorino said endorsed him after the primary Tuesday. Astorino said Jindal and Perry are expected to campaign with him in New York.
Poll numbers have not moved much for Astorino since November 2013. A Quinnipiac poll taken in August has Astorino trailing Cuomo by 28 points (56-28, compared to one taken in October that shows him trailing by 31 points (56-25).
Undeterred, Astorino said polls showed him trailing by 30 before he beat incumbent Westchester County Executive Andy Spano in 2009.
He expects to do well in the Hudson Valley and the 52 counties that comprise "upstate" New York. In New York City, he said he has to hit about 30 percent.
"People say to me, 'You can’t win New York' City, so how could you win,' " he said. "I’m not running for mayor, I’m running for governor. It’s a big state."
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