Two clergy members listed as endorsing Astorino say they do not


Two members of the clergy listed as expected to endorse County Executive Rob Astorino for reelection said they did not endorse him.

The Rev. Gay Tompson-Steele, pastor of Faith Mission Grace Baptist Church in Yonkers, which is affiliated with Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, and the Rev. Michael Gerald, the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Tuckahoe both said they had not endorsed Astorino.

They were listed as “slated to attend” the announcement on Saturday of endorsements by a “coalition of prominent African-American ministers.”

“My statement is that I do not,” said Rev. Tompson Steele, adding she has not endorsed either candidate.

Rev. Gerald said, with only a year in the community, he doesn’t know the candidates well enough to make an endorsement and said he was a little taken aback when he saw his name.

“I need to really talk to the candidates and get a sense of where they are,” said Gerald, who said he was active politically in New Jersey before coming to Westchester, including in the Obama campaign.

Astorino, a Republican, has been gathering a string of endorsements in Mount Vernon, a Democratic stronghold, including by a group the campaign calls Democrats for Astorino. Prominent clergy that did endorse him include Bishop C. Nathan Edwers of the Friendship Worship Church in Mount Vernon and the Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson of Grace Baptist.

Bill O’Reilly, Astorino’s spokesman, said the campaign was given a list of names of clergy members who would attend and put them in the press release.

“My mistake,” he said. “They were slated to attend. Those two ministers didn’t and I’ll call them to apologize.”

But Bishop Edwers said he spoke to both ministers and they said they could be included.

“These people have the right to retract their endorsements but I personally called them and they consented to have their names in the press release,” he said.

Barry Caro, a spokesman for New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the Democratic candidate, said the Mount Vernon endorsements are part of a larger campaign tactic.

“Rob Astorino is basing his reelection strategy on what we believe is a false claim that he’s moderate,” Caro said. “He’s been trying to emphasize his bipartisan credentials over the last couple weeks.”

But, he added, “There are a lot of people in Westchester County who have been watching Rob Astorino’s actions very closely and believe they are very extreme.”

Edwers said he endorsed Astorino because he has been a consistent fiscal manager but has fairly allocated funds as times have gotten better. Astorino has also been accessible to ministers and faith based groups, he said.

“He believes in lean government, reducing the size of government to make sure that the services get to the people,” he said.

Tuesday, Democratic Mount Vernon City Councilwoman Deborah Reynolds also endorsed Astorino.


About Author


  1. North of the Hutch on

    Anyone who does his or her own research will undoubtedly come to the same conclusion as I have that Bramson’s the extremist & Astorino’s the moderate.

  2. Clergy member north of the Hutch on

    Clearly you cannot believe a word that comes out of Astorino’s mouth. The HUD monitor said he is spewing false claims, a Journal News editorial said he is also making false statements about the the affordable housing settlement and now you have this. Not sure if I can believe much of what Astorino says…

  3. LOL!… I believe the “clergymen” ! Regarding, “Affordable Housing, Its Tarnished History in The Westchester County may not be the only and the lonely one. . . The Federal “offer of Settlements” that came was a Free Platter for That County!.. . A Golden Opportunity to do right; but they failed in ” the darkness of the Moment”

    But! Let me check what exactly is ” the Color of HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller’ s skin tone! Hey! I am not talking about ” color ” alright! LOL. . . Hey! Yoooooo Whatzzzzz up!

  4. Edwers wife was given a big promotion by Astorino after he was first elected. He’s a money-grabbing fool who is in Astorino’s pocket. Richardson, a pimp in the pulpit, is only endorsing Astorino because he wants the county to help fund another housing project of his. This one on Fulton Avenue. You JN reporters need to do some better legwork.

  5. What about the Hutch on

    Astorino: Liar Liar Pants on Fire !
    Seriously, creating lies about the clergy !
    The Astorino campaign not only does not follow laws they also create lies about the endorsement of the church !
    No amount of lies and spin from his campaign Oreilly or Proud or any other of his hacks can change that Astorino is an unqualified bumbling arrogant mistake and needs to be changed come Nov 5 ! What a bogus Catholic he is!
    Liar !

  6. For sale? Promises, promises, just look at today’s paper and you will see Congresswoman Nita Lowey calling on Rev. Lacey to attend an event in DC. Rev Lacey is from Peekskill and nowhere near the Congresswoman’s District, but the writing is on the wall, she is trying to help Mayor Bramson (from her District and ex-employee of the Congresswoman’s) get votes and endorsements from outside of his home base of New Rochelle the city with a 7% tax increase this past year. Jockeying and political maneuvers will continue, don’t point fingers at the sitting County Executive who is expected to help the entire county. Look around and watch “Mayor (7% tax increase) Bramson” who will have his Democratic surrogates trying to get him endorsements and help from people he has no contact with or no understanding about.

    There is one real question one must ask themselves; “Who do you trust to keep your county taxes down, Rob Astorino or Noam Bramson?”

    The answer is in each candidate’s record, County Executive Rob Astorino 0% tax increase over the last three years or Mayor Noam Bramson who raised taxes 7% last year in New Rochelle and has a record of raising taxes to balance his budget.

  7. Astorino has told the truth abut the Settlement and HUD and the Monitor have lied. The Monitor sent his “report cards” to the municipalaties and they were horribly inaccurate. Astorino clarified by pointing out the obvious factual errors and Journal News calls Him the liar! Outrageous behavior from what purports to be a “News” organization.

  8. Like him or not, you should respect the fact that County Executive Rob Astorino has kept his word. County Executive Rob Astorino made promises during his campaign 3 1/2 years ago and he has kept to his promises, especially the promise not to raise taxes. It is tough being in a leadership position, you can not make everyone happy, however, County Executive Rob Astorino has been consistent throughout his term as County Executive and deserves another 4 years to continue on the path his has taken us while not raising our county taxes – excellent job County Executive Rob Astorino.

  9. Money Earnin on

    hey Izzy, some leg work, how about ANY?! how bout davis everytime he run for mayor he goes to all the polls in his campaign shirts, ten people with him wearin em too, huggin all the poll workers. all in a day, breakin every law he can. JN reported that right? what? they didn’t? lafayete, he did something about it right? what? he didn’t.

    davis is working with little robbie? davis ran as a REPUBLICAN. please. and davis and franklin are working together.

    course we got a 2 million $ water fountain so everythings good.

  10. What about the Hutch on

    Funny how certain County employees working for Astorino can make their comments while on the county payroll during the county work day.
    Funny about those people who are allowed to do that while on county payroll and earning an extravagent NYS pension