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Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino stops in Plattsburgh to discuss campaign

Rob Astorino visits Plattsburgh on April 20, 2022
Pat Bradley
Rob Astorino visits Plattsburgh on April 20, 2022

Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is a Republican candidate for New York governor, the office he sought in 2014. He was in Plattsburgh Wednesday to discuss his campaign and what he claims is an effort to remove him from the primary ballot.

Astorino, who served as the Westchester County executive from 2010 to 2017 and ran for governor in 2014, stopped briefly in Plattsburgh to talk about his latest campaign. He immediately addressed a challenge to the signatures he has collected to be placed on the June 28th GOP primary ballot.

“Lee Zeldin’s fingerprints are all over the petition challenges and he should just come out and say yes that's what he's doing. Because they are so intricate. I mean, to go through 21,000 signatures in a few days means you have to have access to voter registration, addresses, signatures, all those kinds of things. Who's paying for all the attorneys that have to do that? So, just come out and say why you're challenging me, why you're challenging Andrew Giuliani and not allowing us or trying to not allow us to run a primary. If you feel so strong about your candidacy and your record, you would have nothing to fear. But he is the weakest front runner in the history of front runners I think.”

Zeldin, a Long Island Congressman, was endorsed during the Republican state party convention in early March. In an email, campaign spokesperson Katie Vincentz responded to Astorino’s claims. “All objections and their respective objectors are submitted by others. To make the primary ballot, the law requires 15,000 valid signatures from registered Republicans, including 100 valid signatures from each of at least half of New York's Congressional districts. If you meet these requirements, you’ll be on the primary ballot and have nothing to worry about.”

Astorino also questioned Zeldin’s record, claiming the presumed frontrunner had been mentored by and supported the policies of former Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Lee Zeldin had his time in Albany voting with Cuomo and Cuomo his mentor and being a reliable vote for Cuomo. He voted for all four Cuomo budgets. I mean he literally said, with Andrew Cuomo next to him at an event in Long Island, that Andrew Cuomo should be President of the United States. And then, you know, he went over to Congress and literally voted with Andrew Cuomo more often than he voted with Donald Trump. You can say what you want about Donald Trump, he was a Republican president with a Republican Congress. So there are some big differences. But also, there are a lot of similarities. I mean, we do agree on most of the major issues. But it also gets back to results.”

Zeldin’s campaign spokesperson noted in the email: “No other person in history has ever bizarrely made that mentor claim, because anyone with a moral compass and a shred of integrity would know better than to be that dishonest.”

During his stop in Plattsburgh, Astorino also took aim at Governor Kathy Hochul and the Democrat’s policies.

“It is obvious the state has screwed up in so many ways. Kathy Hochul is perhaps worse than Andrew Cuomo was. We see the corruption that continues. Her lieutenant governor is under indictment. The Buffalo stadium deal is a complete loser for taxpayers. You know, the crime, which is just rampant now in our cities. You know, the budget that went from $178 billion to $220 billion in two years. But between now and the primary and then from the primary to November Kathy Hochul and the Democrats can do a lot more damage.”

Astorino said he will go to court to counter the primary petition signature challenge.

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