Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino will make a two-day trip next month through upstate New York as he seeks re-election in the fall and is rumored as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2014.
The Republican executive will visit Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse on July 11-12. It will include fundraising, but also talks in the cities about mandate relief, said Bill O’Reilly, Astorino’s campaign consultant. He denied it was about a potential 2014 run.
“This is both about 2013 and the greater issue of unfunded state mandates that are crippling counties and municipalities across New York,” O’Reilly said in an email. “County executives, mayors and other municipal leaders — of both political parties — are becoming united in their demand for state mandate reforms that once again didn’t come during the legislative session. There will be a lot to discuss on this short trip.”
Astorino has been viewed as a rising star in the state’s Republican Party, and he has been an outspoken critic of Albany.
The GOP holds no statewide seats, and Astorino would have to face Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014.
While Cuomo’s popularity has fallen this year — particularly upstate — he had more than $20 million in his campaign coffers in January and represents a state with twice as many enrolled Democrats than Republicans. Astorino had about $2.2 million in his campaign account in January.
Astorino hasn’t indicated whether he would consider a run for governor next year. He has said he is focused on re-election to second term in November.
In April, state GOP chairman Ed Cox mentioned several potential gubernatorial candidates: Astorino; Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro; Rep. Chris Gibson of Kinderhook, Columbia County; and Harry Wilson, of Scarsdale, who ran for comptroller in 2010. Gibson has since said he’s not interested.