Trump non-candidacy to go on
ALBANY—Aides to Donald Trump insist he is not giving up on the bid for governor he says he's seriously considering, even as Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino formally announced he would seek the Republican line to challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Trump has met with Republican leaders, some of whom say he's serious about running. Others think his blustering is just bluster, as it has been each of the many times in the past he's talked about becoming a candidate.
Trump aide Michael Cohen said the developer would still make a trip to Syracuse next week, and trashed Astorino's chances of winning in a general.
“Rob Astorino's announcement will do little to curb the vast movement by the majority of GOP leaders who all are committed to a Donald Trump candidacy,” Cohen said in a statement. “Their belief is that only Donald Trump has the ability to win the gubernatorial race and defeat Cuomo. Rob Astorino's problems are threefold: 1. No name recognition 2. No money and; 3. No support from the GOP leadership. A trifecta for a losing candidate.”
Cohen said Trump's support was evident at a meeting last month in Manhattan, where he gathered county chairmen representing enough support to clinch the Republican designation. But not everyone who was at the meeting was fully committed, attendees said, and Astorino was welcomed by statements from both Republican state chairman Ed Cox and the Republican Governors Association.
Trump himself has said he won't run if he needs to face a primary.
Carl Paladino, who after a primary became the 2010 GOP standard bearer, also said he didn't believe Astorino could win and said he would only support him if there is a “cleansing” among some county GOP leaders and a break between Astorino and Cox. Paladino has said he would attempt to run as a Conservative, potentially splitting the anti-Cuomo vote. Conservative State Chairman Mike Long, though, has indicated his support for Astorino and a belief that Donald Trump—Paladino's preferred candidate—will not actually run.
“The Astorino candidacy is only being promoted by Cox to perpetuate the Albany establishment and the abuse of government by the arrogant and vain tyrant, Andrew Cuomo, who wants to maintain the status quo,” Paladino wrote in a mass email. “The rank and file want change and Cox appears to be setting Astorino up as a sacrificial run to keep all his RINO lobbyist buddies like D’Amato fat and happy, feeding at the public trough. Only the cleansing of the Republican party over the next few months will result in a formidable effort to take down the tyrant.”