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LaValle: GOP appears to be coalescing behind Astorino

Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said his party appears to be coalescing behind Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as its likely gubernatorial candidate this year.

“I do see that happening,” LaValle said Friday after announcing he will co-host a fundraiser for Astorino at a Cutchogue winery  Jan. 11, along with state Republican chairman Ed Cox.

LaValle said Astorino, who recently won re-election, possesses “a lot of the qualities” Republicans want in a statewide candidate to take on Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Astorino has said he’s weighing a run for governor.

“Rob just had a very convincing win in a county that is moving more toward the Democrats,” LaValle said. “He’s a good guy. He’s bilingual. He’s got a great record. I think he’s going to appeal to a lot of people in Suffolk County.”

Astorino said in December he would decide whether he’s running in the “weeks ahead.” Beginning then, he’s traveled around the state to meet with county Republican committees and get his name out — with the help of Cox.

In January, along with the Suffolk event, Cox has announced a fundraiser for him in Westchester on Jan. 16. And Astorino will be one of the headliners at the Bronx County GOP Lincoln brunch in February.

“Clearly he’s the favorite for the party nomination if he wants it,” said David Catalfamo, a political consultant who once served as Republican Gov. George Pataki’s communications director. “He’s got a record of being successful. He’s shown an ability to appeal to Hispanics and Democrats — you don’t win Westchester County without appealing to some Democrats.”

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