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Statewide GOP candidates follow Astorino's lead to secure anti-Common Core ballot line

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Common Core meetings held throughout the state last year brought out many disapproving citizens. (file photo)

Republicans vying for statewide office continue pushing an anti-Common Core ballot line they’re trying to get in place for the November elections.

Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino announced this week that he’s trying to create a ballot line called “Stop the Common Core.” Now, other statewide GOP hopefuls are explaining why they like the idea.

Bob Antonocci, who's running for state comptroller, says Common Core was something forced on the state with the promise of federal dollars.

"We make bad decisions because money is sprinkled in front of us," Antonacci said. "And this is a bad decision. Common Core needs to be stopped. I’m proud to be on this ballot line and we’re going to get the signatures, and hopefully we’ll be successful in November.”

He says people who might not generally vote for Republicans might vote for them through the ballot line.  

“You know politics makes strange bedfellows," Antonacci explained. "I’m participating in campaign finance reform, using public funds. That’s not exactly a Republican flag. So we’ve got strange bedfellows all over the place. But the bottom line is we want to educate our kids and we want the best for our families, and if this happens to unite people who are normally not united, I’m all for it.”

But Antonacci says the ballot line isn't a plot to siphon Democratic votes to Republicans.

“You will be able to walk into the ballot box," he said. "And if you don’t like the Common Core, you will be able to voice your opinion at the ballot box, and yes, vote for four individuals that have told the public we are opposed to this and we will make changes to the Common Core. I don’t think you can be any more transparent or open in government than what we’re trying to do here.”

Astorino’s running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor, Chris Moss, also bristles at criticism that the move is simply a bait and switch to get more people to vote for Republicans in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

"We’re calling it a choice that people can make," Moss said. "They can vote for the candidate or their convictions, if they feel that strongly against the Common Core.”

The Republicans are tapping into an anger among many parents in New York state over the botched rollout of a more rigorous curriculum that relies more on standardized tests, and is tied to teacher evaluations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign calls the strategy “pathetic pandering.”

The GOP has until mid-August to get the 15,000 signatures needed to install a new party on the ballot.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.