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ALBANY — Rob Astorino — former Westchester County Executive and the GOP’s 2014 gubernatorial nominee — announced he’s officially entering the 2022 gubernatorial race on Tuesday, as New York Republicans are organizing early ahead of the contest.
Astorino’s entry comes as no surprise — he filed paperwork in March and told reporters during an April visit to Albany he was the “best general election candidate.”
“We have a state that — like this building behind us with danger signs — is falling apart — and it’s been that way for quite a while,” he said standing outside Albany’s state Capitol Building, which is barricaded and dressed in “No Trespassing” signs.
“Andrew Cuomo has been an unmitigated disaster. He’s corrupt … but even worse than his corruption, is his inability to fix this state in the last ten years. This state can be rebuilt. It has to be rebuilt.”
But Astorino has been on a losing streak — he was defeated by Cuomo in 2014, lost his third reelection bid for Westchester County Executive in 2017 as well as his 2020 run for the state Senate.
“We welcome Rob to the race. He was a great county executive, he made it quite clear that he was very serious and this comes as no surprise,” state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy told The Post.
He said party leaders will reconvene for a June meeting to reassess candidates and their progress.
“I presume when we come back in June, and that gives us a two month window, he’ll be out with us in June as well, as this is the next step in the race.”
But Langworthy said name recognition and fundraising capabilities will weigh heavily on the party’s conscience when it comes to making an official nomination.
He has already declared Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin a “frontrunner” — who amassed $2.5 million in campaign cash within the first ten days of declaring his run and secured preliminary endorsements from a number of county chairs.
“It takes a very long time to amass funds necessary to run these races effectively so this is exactly what we need to be doing,” said Langworthy.
But Astorino says those endorsements already scooped up by Zeldin don’t worry him, and in some cases are premature, as election day is far off.
Another Republican seeking the Republican nod includes Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli. More have expressed interest, but have yet to solidify plans, including former Trump administration advisor Andrew Guiliani — the son of Trump lawyer and former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani — as well as former state housing commissioner Joe Holland and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
North Country Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s office confirmed to The Post she will not run for governor if she clinches the House GOP Conference Chair position — the first of two votes for that position is scheduled for Wednesday.
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