Conservative Party chairman Mike Long said today that he will back Westchester County Rob Astorino for governor and that he would hope Carl Paladino would do the same.
Long said he believes Astorino will run, reiterating comments reported today by the New York Post. He said he doesn’t believe Donald Trump will run for governor.
“I believe Rob is making all the moves correctly to advance his candidacy, and I believe he will announce,” Long told Gannett’s Albany Bureau today. “I think the time has come. I have no qualms with Donald Trump, but I don’t believe he’s going to announce.”
Long continued, “I have to give consideration to Carl Paladino, but I think Rob is doing everything necessary to be an effective candidate for governor of the state of New York.”
As for Paladino, who is backing Trump, Long said he hopes that Paladino will support Astorino in an effort to beat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November. Paladino was the GOP and Conservative Party candidate in 2010 for governor.
Paladino has threatened to seek the Conservative Party nomination if Astorino is the candidate and doesn’t condemn GOP legislative leaders in Albany.
“Carl is a friend. My hope is that when and if Astorino announces, that Carl will sit down with myself or with Rob and help unseat Andrew Cuomo,” Long said. “If he decides he wants to run, then my leaders are going to have make that decision.”
The Conservative Party support would be key for Astorino, who said he will make a formal announcement about his candidacy by month’s end. No Republican candidate has won statewide office without the party’s support since 1974.
Trump said he would only run for governor if everyone else gets out of the race.
Long said that’s not the way the process works.