Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was welcomed to the 2014 campaign trail with a flurry of statements from his critics, from pro-choice groups to environmentalists to the Westchester County Democrats.
The pro-choice groups were first out of the starting blocks, criticizing Astorino for his pro-life stance in a statement and at an unrelated news conference in the minutes before Astorino’s official announcement hit the Web.
A series of environmental groups weighed in next, knocking Astorino for supporting fracking and shale-gas drilling — which he intends to make a major plank of his campaign.
“Rob Astorino’s baseless promotion of fracking in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is a disservice to all New Yorkers,” Roger Downs, conservation director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, said in a statement. “Astorino is grossly exaggerating the potential economic prospects and denying the fact that fracking makes people sick.”
Astorino received support from state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox — who has contributed cash to his campaign — and the Republican Governors Association, whose executive director said Astorino “gives voters a strong alternative to the tax-and-spend, big government administration Governor Cuomo has imposed upon his state.”
“Goliath, meet David,” Cox said in a statement. “Rob Astorino has proven that a Republican can win in two-to-one Democratic New York.”
The Westchester County Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Astorino for jumping into the race. They’ve repeatedly knocked him for traveling the state courting support for a gubernatorial bid months after he was re-elected to a second term.
“The voters of Westchester deserve a full time county executive; one who put their needs first – not his own personal, political ambition,” Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, said in a statement.
Here’s video of pro-choice groups on Astorino’s announcement: