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Hudson Valley Republicans among frontrunners to challenge Cuomo
The New York Post kicked a hornet’s nest in the Hudson Valley’s political establishment on Monday when the tabloid published a story that included Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook) among a list of possible Republican challengers to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in November 2014.
Both Astorino and Gibson have been floated before as potential gubernatorial candidates. After all, they are among the few Republicans of note left in New York, where voters are growing increasingly Democratic every year.
Gibson, for example, represents much of the upper Hudson Valley, from Duchess County to the Capital District. The region was hardcore Republican for generations. But, last November, Democrats won two senate seats there. Things change.
Newsday has written numerous political analysis stories on Astorino. Each time, insiders say the county executive could mount a strong challengy to Cuomo because he’s sophisticated and well spoken, consistently conservative on fiscal issues and a good fundraiser.
The Post’s story suggested Republicans are excited about confronting Cuomo as his popularity has flagged from 74 percent in December to 55 percent last month, according to Quinnipiac University polls.
Again, not a surprise that the GOP wants to exploit an opponent’s sagging polls.
Still, that angle refracts interestingly with Cuomo’s purported interest in running for president.
There’s been much talk of Cuomo seeking the White House if another Hudson Valley resident, Hillary Clinton, chooses not to run for the job. How might a strident Republican challenge next year change that calculus for the governor? If he loses in 2014, Cuomo’s presidential ambitions probably go bust.
Same goes for Astorino. He’s up for reelection in November. If he loses, he can forget any dreams he might be harboring of moving into the governor’s mansion in Albany.