Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino tried to lock up support among Nassau GOP voters Sunday, telling a crowd of backers in Woodmere "the whole race is coming down to Nassau County."
With nine days left until the Nov. 4 general election against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Astorino spoke to about 100 supporters at a Five Towns Republican rally.
"Nassau County is going to show its Republican face like it's never done before," Astorino said after telling the crowd that Westchester, where he serves as county executive, Nassau and Suffolk were critical for a path to victory.
Astorino told the group his campaign pins its hopes on high voter turnout in the Republican stronghold counties upstate, coupled with low voter turnout in predominantly Democratic New York City.
Nassau has the largest number of registered Republicans in the state -- 328,503, compared with 371,490 Democrats, according to the latest state elections data -- but Astorino remains 21 points behind Cuomo in the latest Siena College poll of Nassau and Suffolk voters released Oct. 13.
He also drew parallels between his current race and the 1994 gubernatorial race, in which Republican George Pataki defeated incumbent Gov. Mario Cuomo, the current governor's father.
"We're in the midst of a wave; we're going to do well," Astorino told the gathering, explaining he has received Pataki's support and encouragement throughout the race.
Despite Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano crossing parties to endorse Cuomo, Astorino said later in an interview that Long Island's overall Republican leadership has been "helpful" and "supportive."
Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello is hosting a fundraiser for Astorino Monday at the Galleria Restaurant in Woodbury.
Astorino's message resonated with supporters like Paul Shanab, 46, a Woodmere business owner who said he agreed with the Republican's economic policies.
"It's getting a lot harder to keep businesses open," said Shanab, who owns a deli and pizzeria.
"There are too many rules and regulations. . . . We need a change. We don't need the status quo."
Cuomo, who campaigned with running mate Kathy Hochul in Westchester and Queens on Saturday, did not have any campaign events scheduled Sunday.
CORRECTION: The number of registered Republicans and Democrats was incorrect in an initial version of this story.