Astorino Anticipates Cantor-like Upset in Race Against Cuomo

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today.

A historic upset in Virginia is giving one Westchester County executive a whole lot of hope.

Republican Rob Astorino, waging an uphill battle against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, remains undaunted by new poll numbers that show him badly trailing the Democratic governor–and he’s looking to the stunning upset last week of Congressman Eric Cantor to set a new precedent for giant-killing.

“Ultimately at the end of the day, [on] November 4th it’s not the polls in June that matter–as you can see [with] the Virginia race it really doesn’t matter much at all–it’s who comes out to vote and how we get them out to vote and that is what we’re looking forward to on Election Day,” Mr. Astorino told reporters in Manhattan today.

Mr. Astorino was asked if he viewed himself as the Dave Brat of this race–the little-known economics professor who defeated the Republican House majority leader–and Mr. Astorino didn’t deny he had the historic upset in mind, though he leaned on his own experience winning in a Democrat-dominated county.

“They said it couldn’t be done in Westchester which is two to the one Democrat. I started that race 30 points down in the poll and in five months there was a 45 point swing from 30 down to winning by 15 points in a Democratic stronghold. So at the end of the day, what matters are ideas, issues and of course getting my message out,” Mr. Astorino said.

Mr. Astorino trails Mr. Cuomo by more than 30 points, according to a Siena College Poll released today. In addition to holding an enormous name recognition advantage over Mr. Astorino, Mr. Cuomo has also raised more than $30 million, compared to Mr. Astorino’s roughly $2 million.

Mr. Astorino’s poll numbers have also not budged despite launching a near daily barrage of attacks against the governor. Today Mr. Astorino rolled out a new policy platform that took aim at the “Democratic culture of corruption in Albany,” calling for term limits of state lawmakers, a shorter legislative session and a new independent anti-corruption commission to replace a committee that Mr. Astorino charged Mr. Cuomo has mishandled.

Standing in front of a statue of former President Theodore Roosvelt at the Museum of Natural History–Mr. Roosevelt was a New York governor and, like Mr. Astorino, a Republican–Mr. Astorino said voters were just starting to pay attention to the gubernatorial race.

“The campaign is just getting into earnest right now. This is when people just start paying attention to it,” he said. “My job is to go around the state and to talk about how to make New York winning again and as people hear that message, they nod in agreement.”