In a question and answer session after releasing his 2014 budget proposal Friday, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said his chance of running for governor next year was “anywhere from zero to 100 percent.”
He said he had answered honestly when asked by the New York Post if he would run that he would always consider it, launching a round of speculation on his future. But his election victory has kicked up the governor talk, he said.
“I think the speculation has been increased certainly because of the way we won,” he said. “But the fact of the matter remains I love what I’m doing here.”
Asked what higher-level Republican official he would compare himself to, Astorino said: “I’ve got to be careful because I might see him soon. But I’ve been compared to a thin Chris Christie,” he said. “And I mean that in all due respect. Because I think what he’s done in New Jersey has been fantastic.”
He also said he admired the pension reform efforts of Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a Democrat.
His record in the county has also fed the speculation, Astorino said. Astorino’s budget proposal includes no tax levy increase for the fourth year in a row.
“I think because of the size of the county and what we’ve been able to do budget-wise, it’s been seen as a little bit of a laboratory for what could be for other counties or the state,” he said.
He added that he will use his platform to lobby for mandate relief in Albany, which he blamed for inaction.
“I think what’s been noticed here, right wrong or indifferent, is that we’ve made some really big changes here,” he said, “and they’re having a good effect.”