Westchester Executive Rob Astorino Declares Run For Governor

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is officially running for Governor of New York state, he announced Wednesday morning in a video release.

"I'm tired of listening to the fairytale when everything is just great, when it's just the opposite," he said in the video.

Astorino cited rising taxes, terrible business conditions, corrupt government and record-breaking electric costs as characteristics of current Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.

Astorino had been hinting at a run as early as January and appeared on FOX's Sean Hannity Show to criticize Cuomo. He established an exploratory committee on Feb. 3, but cited financial concerns as paramount in his final decision.

Before Astorino goes head-to-head with his fellow Westchester resident, he must first gain the Republican nomination - and he already has some competition.

New York State Republican Committee Chair Ed Cox has said he may run against Cuomo, along with real estate mogul and television personality Donald Trump.

Cuomo has a 50-point advantage in matchups against Astorino and Trump, according to a Siena Research Institute poll.

Astorino began his political career in 2003 when he was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators. He failed to unseat County Executive Andy Spano in 2005, but returned to defeat Spano by 16 percent in 2009.

He won re-election in Nov. 2013 against challenger Noam Bramson, the current mayor of New Rochelle.

Before committing to politics full-time, he was a sports talk show host, first for WFAS in White Plains, then later as a founding member of 1050 AM ESPN Radio in New York City in 2001. He also served as executive producer for "The Michael Kay Show," hosted by the New York Yankees television personality.

In 2007, Astorino was hired as the program director for Sirius Satellite Radio's "Catholic Channel."

Astorino grew up in Thornwood, graduating from Westlake High School in Mount Pleasant in 1985. He graduated from Fordham University in 1989.

Cuomo was elected in 2010. He married Bedford resident Kerry Kennedy, the seventh child of Robert F. Kennedy, in 1992. They separated in 2003 and divorced in 2005. 

In 2011, Cuomo began living with Food Network host Sandra Lee. The two reside on the Mount Kisco-New Castle border.

The N.Y. State Republican Convention will be held May 14 and 15 at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook.

Eric Gendron contributed to this report.



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Comments (20)

We need candidates who will roll up their sleeves and look for creative ways to save money. I'm not going to kid myself and say my tax bills will ever go down. It has never happened in my lifetime regardless of who was in office or what party was in control. I would just like to see that the governor, whoever that my be, will try to spend our money as carefully as possible. I think Rob Astorino will try to do that.

He doesn't have anything to bring to the table. He got elected off the back of a dogwhistle issue and cost the County millions in aid from HUD. He could run on a promise to lower property taxes -- but he's too late to the party because everyone is running on that as evidenced by the 2% tax cap mandate. Is he going to make jobs and the economy an issue -- claiming NYS is losing people and jobs to other parts of the country? Anyone who can Google can check to see that NYS population is growing and that the unemployment rates are lower than our neighbors (NJ, CT, Mass,RI). Fracking?? Not a winnable issue or a sound idea either. Corruption? Probably not -- too many articles of his raid on the Independent Party and later huddling with Chris Christie. Champion smaller and more local government??? OK, but why is everyone who is in favor of smaller Govt running for Higher offices -- its just not a distinguishing characteristic. Guns/Religion/Abortion etc?? Fat chance -- its still NY State.

Then he's got to listen to Trump snipe from the sidelines while he trails badly in the polls and Trump waits for GOP to kiss his ring and beg him to throw his hat in the ring.

Where do you get your information? Raid on the independence party? Astorino wouldn't give Cavallo and his minions jobs or do political favors for their endorsement... so they didn't endorse him this time around. He won anyway. He's met with Christie... so what? It's corrupt to do so? Fracking is a losing issue? Really? The unemployment rate in North Dakota is THREE percent (b/c of fracking). Cuomo is going to get trounced upstate. Religion? How is Astorino out of touch in NY... by believing in God? Cuomo and Astorino are both Catholic. What abortion laws will Astorino seek to change? Answer: ZERO Who is the radical when it comes to guns? Cuomo. He pissed off the police with his rant and new rules... oh, and everyone north of Westchester County (again). Astorino is showing that the Republican party can still be the big tent party. He won a landslide in Westchester where Dems outnumber Republicans 2 to 1. He reaches across party lines and across different communities (even in different languages... fluent in Spanish).

You are denying that there is an exodus from this state? Look at how we keep losing electoral votes as a state. Why and how does that happen? Hint: population decrease
Please don't pretend that you haven't been with friends, family, coworkers, etc. over the last few years talking about how expensive it is to live here and how you know someone who retreated to CT or NC or TX or FL or CO and they pay half or 1/3 the property taxes and have a home twice the size for half the price while paying far less for food and gasoline. Because you have. We all have.

Astorino will lose to those who want a hand out. Let's see how many we have on the dole come November. I like his chances.

Rob will reduce the size and cost of New York State government while encouraging, developing and successfully promoting private sector growth. This will lead to increased revenues and more jobs, while lowering the number of people who need government subsidies to live.

His actions will raise the tide for all our boats and we will live a bit better, no matter our race, creed, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.

What have either candate done for the people to lower taxes or cut spending over the past 4 years? Now Astorino appoints the worst type of burocrat (murphy) to be the commissioner of taxes for westchester county? Uneer her rule she over taxed the people of Somers to the tune of 26 million dollars that has to be paid back to the people of Somers as part of a settlement agreement. She wasted millions of dollars on consulting firns,personal expenditures, attorneys fees, unneeded projects, expensive vacations, cell phone bills and all paid by us taxpayers.
Rob Astorino said he does not smoke pot anymore? Sure rob.

Dear Fifth Ave Guy:
I agree with you that we should eliminate county government. When I was a County Legislator I called for the elimination of county government. During Rob Astorino's first campaign for County Exec against Andy Spano, I headed with Joe DioGuardi a committee called Rethinking Westchestergov.com -- the group fought to eliminate county government. I continue to believe that there is no need for county government. There's no county governments in Connecticut and the taxes there are much less.
Massachusetts also eliminated county gov. PAUL FEINER

Astorino openly questioned County Government when he won his first term. It's state law, Mr Feiner. You know that as well as anyone. Maybe as Governor, Rob will help to overturn that law and return the millions of tax dollars counties are MANDATED to collect back to local governments/taxpayers. Cuomo certainly won't.

Excellent for New York...what a breath of fresh air it would be to have Mr. Astorino for Governor. He has proven to be a "hands on" County Executive, courageous in his dealings with the unions and an all around excellent representative. Cuomo has proven to be a dead in the water governor, uncommunicative and retro in his thinking...the best he can do is drag in gambling as a solution to raising revenue? New York needs a fresh and involved person who is committed to keeping New York great...business in and government involvement out. Good Luck to Astorino!

Why should we the taxpayers be paying the County Executive's salary of $160,000+ when the County Executive is travelling the state on non county government business?
It's a big rip off of taxpayer dollars. The County Executive has the right to run for higher office. I don't think he should be paid for not working---.
Westchester County will continue to be the highest taxed county in the nation if we tolerate no show jobs.

Hi Paul, YOU KNOW that this is a STATE ISSUE and not a county issue. AS such, if you have a problem with it, please contact Governor Cuomo, Bill Clinton, Gillibrand and Schumer and complain to them, for they all endorsed Bramson in his run against Rob.

By the way, Did You Endorse Bramson?

Hey Feiner,

You've been the Supervisor in Greenburgh since BEFORE the Clinton administration.
Why don't you take a break, and give the citizens of this small 'burb a rest from your omniscient genius? Call me crazy, but somehow, some way, I believe we could survive it here without you.

By the way, please detail for those who don't know you, how you rescinded your salary in '98 and 2000 and resigned your position as Supervisor, when you ran for the U.S. Congress and lost.


As you are obviously obsessed about the ethics for Mr. Astorino's upcoming campaign, we'd all appreciate you explaining why the course of action you've laid out for him above, wasn't good enough for you when you ran for higher office.

Take your time. We'll be waiting right here.

Astorino could run the county blindfolded from an igloo in Antarctica better than NYS is currently being run by the political hacks in charge. Give it a rest already. Will Cuomo not be campaigning at the same time? Per your logic should he also give up his salary?

Way to go Rob!! Time to clean house of all the do nothing democrats. From the governor all the way up to the White House !! For the job you have done you deserve your paycheck and much more. Only a very naive person would think you should not accept a paycheck. The "right" thing to do is congratulate a person for a job well done and wish him luck in his run for Governor.

Good luck Rob your the best man for the job!!

For those NYers unfamiliar with Rob, I can't tell you how fortunate we are to have an individual of his caliber and character willing to run. He is a straight shooting problem solver who gets things done. Regardless of class, color, or party affiliation, Rob reaches out. He has an urgency about him that eschews empty rhetoric and promises. Bless him and his family for the challenging campaign that lays before them. I urge people of all stripes to give this man a chance.

What a surprise. Who's going to do his current job while he's not doing it for the next 9 months? I hope he will be gracious enough to not accept a paycheck for a job he will not be doing. It seems to me that that would be the "right" thing to do.

The same persons who worked in place of Obama and McCain in '08 and Bramson and Astorino in '13 and Cuomo in '14.

The same way your idol Obama, turned in his Senate paycheck for the year and a half that he ran around America running for president.

The same way Cuomo turned in his Attorney Gerneral's paycheck when he toured New York State running for governor for nine months.

You Leftist cranks truly are pathetic.

Robmaur, did you vote for Obama? How were you able to overcome your outrage over the taxpayers having to pay for his Senate salary while he ran for president -- for TWO years! I'm sure you're also upset about him voting "present" most times he actually showed up. Oh how he wishes he could vote present right now while he occupies the oval office. Vlad is laughing...

Seriously, is this all you guys got? You have nothing else to criticize him on, huh? I guess you know what the rest of us do: Astorino is doing a great job and will be a great governor

yes thats all they have, they are thinking astorino could beat cuomo. they r desperate. cuomos gotta go!

Still westchester is better off with Astorino running for governor than if Noam Bramson had won.

btw, maybe we could do away with county government, wouldn't that save a ton of money?

I know I know you're one of those, bigger is better democrats. The bigger our govenment is, the better it is. Well not many are buying that line these days.