Andrew Cuomo’s extermination of more than ten thousand nursing home patients by forcing them to share their facilities with highly contagious COVID patients and his increasingly notorious sexually predatory conduct make his re-election no foregone conclusion, even in deep blue New York State. Many solidly Democratic states have elected Republican governors…and keep re-electing them.
Massachusetts, for example, has had a Republican governor for thirty years — since 1991 — except for an eight-year stint for Democrat Deval Patrick. And the current Republican governor, Charlie Baker, is finishing his second term.
So, what about New York State?
We have not had a Republican since George Pataki.
The electoral math is always the same. We win most of rural upstate but get killed in the cities and lose the suburbs.
But now we have a chance to run the former county executive of Westchester — Rob Astorino. Our best shot for governor. What makes Rob so attractive is he can carve the heart out of the Democratic base by being competitive in New York City, in urban areas where he outperforms with minority voters (he speaks Spanish) and in his heavily Democrat home county of Westchester.
His electoral history is impressive. After losing a close race for County Executive in 2005 against an incumbent, he came back to beat the incumbent in 2009 by 13 points and won re-election in 2013 by 13 points.
There are parallels to his run for governor. In 2014, Astorino was the GOP candidate against Cuomo. While he lost by 14 points statewide, he managed to flip thirty counties, carrying such key counties as Suffolk, Monroe, Ulster and Schenectady. Astorino won the state outside of NYC.
Compare Cuomo’s vote margins in his three gubernatorial campaigns. In 2010, he won with 63% and in 2018 with 60%. But, in between, facing Astorino, he won with only 54% of the vote. Astorino’s showing was even more impressive considering how badly he was outspent and how many top Republicans supported Cuomo
And this was the pre-nursing home scandal, pre-sexual harassment scandal Cuomo.
Astorino’s eight years governing as a conservative executive in a liberal bastion was excellent. He cut taxes, held the line on spending and helped create tens of thousands of new jobs. And he did it all while working with a Democratic County Legislature. He will do the same up in Albany and save our state.
Let’s nominate a winner in 2022. Rob Astorino.
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