Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is in Buffalo today, meeting with Republican leaders and attending an Erie County GOP holiday dinner tonight as he considers a run for governor next year.
Erie County GOP chairman Nick Langworthy said Astorino has impressed the prospective donors and political leaders he has met with so far, saying “I would venture to say he sounds like a candidate to me.”
Langworthy said Astorino hasn’t indicated his intentions, though. Astorino said he would make a formal decision early next year.
“He has been incredibly well received today,” Langworthy said. “People love the message. They can identify with his trials and tribulations trying to beat a county executive in a county down two-to-one in enrollment like we are here in Erie County.”
Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, the 2010 GOP candidate for governor, attended some of the events today, and the two spoke, Langworthy said. Astorino is expected to speak at the GOP dinner tonight.
Paladino has indicated he would seek to run on the Conservative Party line for governor if he doesn’t approve of the GOP candidate for governor.
But Astorino has said that he would be hopeful to win Paladino’s support, and Langworthy said he was confident the two could strike an accord if Astorino runs.
“They have a lot more in common than they don’t, and I’m confident that when the dust settles we can get this party united,” Langworthy said.
Some Republican leaders are trying to woo Donald Trump to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year. Trump has said he is considering it after meeting with some GOP lawmakers in Manhattan earlier this month.
Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long told Gannett today that he and Astorino have agreed to meet in person in the near future. No Republican in New York has won statewide office without the Conservative Party’s support since 1974.
“If he decides to run, he certainly will get serious consideration,” Long said. “He’s done a good job in Westchester. “
Long said that he recently spoke with Trump via phone and has had continued conversations with his staff. The phone conversation left him convinced that Trump had “more
than a toe in the water,” Long said.
“Evidently Mr. Trump wants to give some thought to this before going any further, but we’re going to have further conversations,” Long said.