Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said he’s confident he would be able to raise the amount of money necessary to compete with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though he declined to say how much it would take to mount a credible race.
Speaking to the Capitol press corps, Astorino said he has had internal discussions with his team about how much he would need to raise for a gubernatorial run, calling it a “reachable goal.” But he said he wouldn’t need “anywhere close” to the size of Cuomo’s $33.3 million campaign warchest.
Astorino, a Republican, has said he is leaning toward challenging Cuomo at the ballot box this year.
“We are going to need money in this campaign. It’s going to be important,” Astorino said. “Unfortunately it’s part of the process, but we’re going to have to raise money and we will. I raised $6 million for my county executive race and it will be unfortunately a big part of what we do this year if we go for it.”
Astorino was again critical of Cuomo’s comments on “extreme conservatives,” calling them “outrageous” and saying Cuomo should apologize for the remark.
When asked if Astorino has privately made up his mind on whether to run—as some have suggested—he said: “Part of my mind, yeah.”
“We’re not there yet,” Astorino said. “Obviously, there’s a reason I’ve been in Broome County. There’s a reason I was in Oswego, there’s a reason why I’m in Onondaga. There’s a reason why I’ll be in Monroe this Saturday and in Albany today. There’s a checklist of things you have to do in order to get started, in order to go for it, and we’re going through that checklist.”
Astorino will be in Rochester on Saturday for Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks’ annual fundraising ball.
Here’s part of Astorino’s exchange with reporters: