The Westchester County Democratic Committee launched a website Tuesday tracking County Executive Rob Astorino’s time spent outside of the county as he explores a run for governor.
“Mr. Astorino campaigned on a promise that he would be a dedicated county executive,” said Reginald LaFayette, chairman of the committee, in a statement about Whereisrob.com. “Looking at his travel schedule, he clearly has other priorities. With our bond rating downgraded and the highest property taxes in the nation, it’s time for Rob Astorino to focus on his day job.”
The site is the latest form of criticism directed at Astorino by county Democrats. Some party members have recently accused the Republican of neglecting his duties within Westchester as he travels the state and country to secure GOP support for a possible gubernatorial run in 2014. They’ve also said he duped voters by promising to serve another four years.
In a video posted on the site, Astorino is quoted as saying, “I ask for another four years to continue down our path.” The clip, along with other quotes from the county executive, have been referenced by Democrats as evidence of Astorino lying to voters. However, the quotes cited only say the county executive was asking for another four years or was looking forward to his next term.
Astorino spokesman Bill O’Reilly declined comment on the website and video.
Astorino, who was elected to his second term in November, has not officially declared his candidacy for governor but has set up a fundraising committee called Astorino for Governor. He’s also launched a website of his own that’s been critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Democrats’ site says Astorino has been absent from Westchester for 14 out of 67 business days since his November re-election, when speculation about a run for governor took off. It claims he’s spent about 20 percent of his time outside the county since his new term began on Jan. 1. And also mistakenly refers to Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers as chairman of the Board of Legislators, a position he was recently ousted from.
The figures on Astorino’s travel were cited by three Westchester Democratic officials — County Clerk Tim Idoni, Peter Harckham of Bedford and Jenkins— at a Monday press conference. They criticized Astorino for being more focused on running for governor than doing the job he was elected to do.
Following the conference, O’Reilly said Jenkins and Harckham had “exhausted all credibility.” He added that Astorino remained committed to the job in Westchester.
If Astorino does announce that he’s running for governor, the Republican would join a list of candidates from both major parties that have sought higher office while holding an elected position.
Photo: Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.