Monday, February 3, 2014

Westchester’s Rob Astorino to Open Exploratory Committee for Possible Run for Governor

Top NYS GOP operative set to head-up Astorino’s Exploratory Committee staff 

Counsel to Donald Trump poo-poos the news 

According to a post by Liz Benjamin, “Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is taking yet another step closer to a full blown challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by opening an exploratory committee and poaching a staffer from the state GOP to run it....” (See “Astorino Opening Exploratory Committee, Staffing Up for Possible Gov Run (Updated x2)”
by Liz Benjamin, 2/3/14, State of Politics []).

Giving Benjamin’s story even more heft is the confirmation by Astorino’s spokeswoman Jessica Proud that an exploratory committee was indeed well into the process of formation, and that the make up of that committee is expected to be completed by the end of the week. “He is taking the appropriate steps to prepare for a statewide campaign,” Proud said of Astorino's move to formalize his emerging campaign.  Ms. Proud further indicated that NYS GOP Executive Director Michael Lawler will be departing his party post to take over running the exploratory committee on Astorino’s behalf. About Mr Lawler’s selection, Proud added, “We need someone right now to be responsible for day-to-day organization, and Mike is someone that would be great at that.”.

Liz Benjamin specifically noted that “Astorino’s selection of Lawler will no doubt raise a few eyebrows inside the state GOP, since it further solidifies the belief that the county executive is state Party Chairman Ed Cox’s favored candidate.”

The announcement was quickly minimized by a spokesman of one of Mr. Astorino’s possible rivals for the nomination to be the GOP candidate for Governor.  Donald Trump’s  counsel Michael Cohen expressed his opinion that "The setting up of an exploratory committee changes nothing for Mr. Trump..." in a telephone interview reported on by Ken Lovett for the Daily News ( See ““Donald Trump Aide: Rob Astorino's Exploratory Committee 'Means Nothing' ”
by Ken Lovett, 2/3/14, Daily News/ Daily Politics []).

Lovett’s article highlighted the view of Trump’s counsel that Astorino's move to form an exploratory committee and hire as a top staffer somebody who had been close to state GOP Chairman Ed Cox to oversee it does not mean Astorino is  running.  “He's going to waste a handful of dollars in order to learn what he already knows--and that is he does not have the backing of the majority of Republican leaders and he cannot defeat Cuomo. The only one who can defeat Cuomo, and easily, is Donald Trump,” said Trump’s man Cohen.

Ken Lovett finished his post/article with this important back ground about any possible Trump candidacy:  “Trump has said he will not run if the Republican party does not clear a path for the nomination. The Donald has threatened in the past to run for governor and president without every following through. Many Republicans believe he will again eschew a run even as Trump says he is seriously considering getting into the race.”


Anonymous said...

Astorino will be eaten alive by Cuomo.

Can't wait to see if Proud pulls another "cats on the tracks" like she did for Lhota.

Anonymous said...

Where is Piere Rinfret when you need him

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump must think we are a chump.
The Donald has talked about running for President in every election since 1988.
Its never going to happen.

Galewyn Massey said...



Ken Lovett’s made the following report earlier today in the Daily News: “Things got a bit testy between Donald Trump and state GOP Chairman Ed Cox last Friday at a private dinner following the billionaire developer’s appearance at an Erie County fundraiser. *** Trump as he was leaving dressed down the Republican party chairman after he heard Cox saying how he believed the party has two good candidates for governor, sources at the dinner said. *** That prompted Trump, who sources said stayed clear of openly criticizing Cox during the day, to openly press Cox as to why he was supporting the candidacy of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and criticize him directly for not being able to win statewide races, the sources said....” (See “Donald Trump Dresses Down NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox In Buffalo” by Ken Lovett, 2/4/14, Daily News/ Daily Politics []).

To show that Trump is trying very hard to stake out some kind of territory vis a vis the conduct of the GOP selection process for choosing its next governor in advance of the 2014 State Convention that Ken Lovett made a point of mentioning this: "Michael Caputo, a western New York political consultant who has been working with those urging Trump to run, said he was told by Trump organization staffers that they overheard Cox later talking to Astorino on the phone at the Buffalo airport. Caputo said he was told by the Trump staffers that Cox said: “Don’t worry about that. There’s no way they can stop us from forcing a primary.”

"Cox confirmed Ken Lovett’s report on The Daily Politics [blog] that he had a conversation with Trump at last week’s Erie County GOP reception that included a “back and forth” over the party’s lack of statewide success...." (See "Cox: No Primary For Governor " by Nick Reisman, 2/4/14, State Of Politics []).

Anonymous said...

Carl "Crazy Carl" Paladino is the one guy who can fix everything

Galewyn Massey said...

Only if he actually hits a couple of hundred people in the head with his baseball bat.... starting with those who have been "dealing" with him lately....

Galewyn Massey said...


Early gubernatorial jousting shows that one candidate is playing chess while the other is talking like it's a game of checkers.

According to the Buffalo News, "If the New York Republicans’ search for a gubernatorial candidate is a chess game, then Rob Astorino just notched two bold moves...." (See "Astorino gambit deepens state GOP intrigue on candidacy for governor -- With panel, key aide, a 2-step toward race" by Robert J. McCarthy & Tom Precious, 2/4-2/514, Buffalo News []).

Meanwhile, Donald Trump goes around virtually telling each and every Republican leader that he bumps into to "King me !"; and then he turns around and gives contradictory signals like telling The Buffalo News last week that he would end his gubernatorial bid should Rob Astorino announce his candidacy.

When Mr. Astorino was asked in an interview for his thoughts on Trump's wanting the Republican Party to clear the way for him to run unopposed if they want him as a candidate, Astorino responded, “Don’t we all?... But you have to work for these things,” he said of his own calls to all 62 county GOP and Conservative Party leaders, as well as his travels across the state. As an example of that, Astorino was looking and sounding every bit the candidate for governor as he met behind closed doors with Senate Republicans at the State Capitol on Tuesday.