Astorino accepts GOP nomination, says NY needs turnaround

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Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino stands on stage

Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino stands on stage with his wife, Sheila McCloskey, and their children Sean, left, Kiley and Ashlin during the New York State Republican Convention in Rye Brook on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

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Spin Cycle

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RYE BROOK -- Rob Astorino on Thursday accepted the Republican nomination for governor of a state he said is dead last among states in many categories, but which can rise again.

The 46-year-old Westchester county executive described the way he and other politicians should be to win out over special interests: “You need a head to do the smart thing, a heart to show compassion, but possibly even more important than that, you need a spine.”

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Astorino, who will take on Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, noted recent national surveys in which New York was at or near the bottom in business climate and for places to retire.

“Fiftieth is for losers, not for us,” Astorino told a sometimes cheering crowd. He said New York can be tops again, because it’s the place “where Colin Powell reached for the stars,” the home of Simon and Garfunkel, and “where Jackie Robinson stole home and Broadway Joe guaranteed a trophy. Fiftieth? We scoff at that.”

Astorino delivered several long passages in Spanish, continuing his theme of trying to enlist traditionally Democratic voters in the Republican cause.

Assmb. Jane Corwin (R-Clarence) said she’d met many politicians in her six years in the Assembly, and “Rob Astorino has been the most impressive all.” She said he went to Buffalo six times during the worst two months of winter weather in the history of the city. She said he sought out and connected with Western New Yorkers.

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“I realized, yeah, this guy is from downstate, but understands and he cares about upstate,” said Corwin. “He just really is a good guy.”

Astorino has won two terms as county executive of Westchester County where, like New York statewide, Democrats have about a 2 to 1 enrollment advantage over Republicans.

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