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Donald Trump has canceled his plan to attend a major Republican fundraiser in Albany next week as he considers a run for governor.
New York State Republican Party spokesman David Laska said Trump told the party of his decision late Tuesday.
The event scheduled for Tuesday will highlight the party's "rising stars" and is headlined by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Astorino is also considering a run for governor against Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after Astorino won re-election in November in the county dominated by Democratic voters.
"When Mr. Trump realized … this event was a long-planned salute to Mr. Astorino, he demurred," said Trump spokesman Michael Caputo. "He feels it is inappropriate for him to attend and disrupt an evening devoted to Mr. Astorino _ in his perspective, that's not a classy move. Instead, he is looking at other GOP events upstate."
Trump is still considering a run for governor after meeting with several Republican leaders in Buffalo last week.
"We're sorry that Mr. Trump chose not to attend," Laska said Wednesday. "We would have loved to have him."
"Rising stars" who are expected to attend include Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) who is running for Congress.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox said Wednesday that he’s encouraging Trump and Astorino to campaign for governor “to aim their guns at Cuomo.”
So far, Astorino has been holding fundraisers and meeting county Republican leaders statewide as well as meeting with legislative leaders in Albany. Trump so far has met with Republican leaders at his Manhattan office.
Astorino “is doing everything you need to do to put together an effective campaign,” Cox said in an interview. Cox has emphasized the need for statewide candidates to gain the backing of local leaders to learn issues and build a stronger base of support.
“We have a process,” Cox said. “You humble yourself before the people. You ask them for your vote and they tell you what they are interested in and you address those concerns … you say, ‘It’s not about me, it’s about you.’”