Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino touted Texas' job growth and economy during a campaign appearance with the state's governor, Rick Perry, in Farmingdale Tuesday, as he criticized New York's direction under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
New York State Democrats attacked Astorino's appearance with Perry, saying it highlighted his "ultraconservative" positions on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and education.
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, contrasted the economic climate in Texas with New York's, where he said taxes on business and energy are hampering growth.
"We're marveling at what they've done in Texas under Governor Perry's leadership. You see how each year they lead the nation in job growth," Astorino said in front of a display of sneakers at Runner's Edge on Main Street.
"So many New Yorkers are fleeing to Texas I think we're going to change your accent," Astorino told Perry.
Former Gov. David A. Paterson, the state Democratic Committee chairman, said in a statement, "there's no daylight between ultraconservative Texas Governor Rick Perry and his ideological soul mate Rob Astorino."
Astorino opposes same-sex marriage and abortion but has indicated he wouldn't take action to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law or curb abortion rights.
Perry said he and Astorino "share this vision for the country, a vision for New York -- of freedom from overtaxation, overregulation, and overlitigation."
Astorino repeated his support for hydraulic fracturing to tap underground natural gas reserves, saying it would create jobs and bring down energy costs.
Cuomo has delayed a decision on whether to allow the process known as fracking for gas upstate until he gets a recommendation from acting Health Department Commissioner Howard Zucker.
Cuomo returned from Afghanistan and attended a reception for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Netanyahu thanked Cuomo for his trip to Israel in mid-August, during the conflict in Gaza. "I appreciated that expression of support at the time we most needed it," Netanyahu said, according to a video of the event.
Also Tuesday, Democrats said Astorino accepted $1 million in campaign contributions from companies that hold about $700 million in Westchester County contracts.
Last week, Astorino released a list of 100 companies that have contributed about $2.7 million to Cuomo and have about $7.2 billion in state contracts, calling their contributions "pay to play."
Cuomo administration officials said contributions have not impacted policy decisions. Cuomo has raised more than $35 million for his re-election campaign.
"Pay-to-play Republican Rob Astorino likes to scold others about fundraising practices he has been the poster child for," said Democratic spokesman James Freedland.
Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud denied the comparison, noting contracts in Westchester require unanimous approval by a three-member Board of Acquisition and Contract that is chaired by a Democrat.
Perry, who looked at the sneakers at Runner's Edge, deflected questions about any 2016 presidential ambitions. "I'm focused on the next 35 days and getting Rob Astorino elected," he said. "On November the 5th, we can start thinking about what is next."
Perry ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for the Republican nomination.
Perry started his daylong trip through New York on Tuesday by headlining a fundraiser for 3rd Congressional District Candidate Grant Lally, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington). After the stop in Farmingdale, Perry and Astorino traveled to a Buffalo fundraiser.
Before the news conference, Astorino, standing in front of the display of running shoes, said, "I'll take a size nine if you got one." He said "with five weeks to go, I need a good pair of sneakers. We're running hard."
With Yancey Roy
and Laura Figueroa