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Astorino accepts GOP nomination for governor, Moss gets lieutenant governor nod

Matt Ryan, New York Now
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino delivers his acceptance speech.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino accepted the Republican nomination for governor at the state party convention in Westchester, saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t lived up to his promises to improve the state.

Astorino painted a grim picture of the state, saying New York is 50th out of the 50 states in high taxes, economic outlook, and corruption. And he blames it all on bad government.

“What have our politicians done? They’ve nearly ruined a once great state,” Astorino said. “The statistics scream incompetence.”

Astorino says Cuomo has failed to deliver on promises to bring the state back, and the GOP nominee says now it should be his turn to try.

Astorino says he knows the state can’t immediately be number one in attracting business, but could perhaps become the most competitive state in the Northeast. He says he would repeal the gun control laws known as the SAFE Act, which were championed by Cuomo, and get rid of the new national Common Core educational standards.  

“As governor, I’ll get rid of Cuomo’s Common Core that is robbing our children of their natural love of learning,” he said, to cheers from the audience.

And he says he would authorize the controversial natural gas drilling process known as hydrofracking in the state, which he refers to as natural gas exploration. After his speech, Astorino derided Cuomo’s hesitation on fracking, which has included a year-and-a-half ongoing health review. He points out that President Barack Obama, as well as New York’s two Democratic Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have already shown their support.

“You’ve got the governor continuously sitting on his hands, and not making a decision because he’s afraid of Yoko Ono or whomever,” said Astorino.

The Republican candidate is the underdog in the race. He’s severely underfunded compared to Cuomo’s $33 million war chest. But he says he believes there is a path to victory.

“I’m not giving up any votes,” said Astorino, who said he plans to travel to all regions and neighborhoods.

Astorino says the fact that Cuomo is already on TV with negative ads against him is a sign that the race is competitive.

The GOP candidate says if he wins, he’ll impose term limits on himself. He says he would leave after two elections.


But Astorino was only half of the Republican ticket for governor confirmed yesterday.

Credit Matt Ryan / New York Now
New York Now
Chris Moss speaks to a crowd gathered at the Republican convention in Westchester.

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss will be the first African American GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, now that he’s been nominated at the Republican convention in Westchester.  

Moss says he grew up on a farm just outside Elmira, where his father ran a restaurant. But he says he’s seen his hometown decline over the years, saying people have left and drugs and crime have risen. Moss believes hydrofracking could help the economy. But the two-time elected sheriff received the loudest applause when he called for repeal of the gun control laws championed by Cuomo known as the SAFE Act.

“We’re going to enact smart gun legislation that isn’t against the property owner, the law abiding citizen,” Moss said, as the audience stood to applaud. “That legislation should have been geared toward criminals and toward helping to make sure that firearms don’t fall into the hands of the mentally ill.”

Moss says he also wants to fight corruption in state government, saying the Capitol’s culture gives “organized crime a whole new meaning.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.