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Follow the LI money
Long Island money is jumping into the race for Westchester County executive, but the reason might have more to do with a certain statewide election two years from now than the battle shaping up for our northern neighbors.
The Journal News reported Tuesday that a political action committee funded by Nissequogue billionaire Robert Mercer spent about $1 million in a week supporting the re-election campaign of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican running against Democratic State Sen. George Latimer. The polls show a very tight race, and the newly registered PAC, called Win For NY, reported spending $964,460 on digital and traditional media placement and production, along with a $15,460 survey of Westchester.
Mercer, best known for bankrolling Breitbart.com, his close relationship with its leader, Steve Bannon, and the campaign of Bannon’s former employer, President Donald Trump, may well care about retaining Republican control of the executive chair in Westchester. But he also may hope to make the county look a bit more in play for the 2018 gubernatorial race.
Astorino faced Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2014 and was beaten statewide by 14 percentage points, or about 500,000 votes. But Astorino was beaten almost as badly in Westchester in that race, by 13 points.
Anyone who hopes to beat Cuomo would have to do very well in Westchester, as well as in Nassau and Suffolk, to overcome the huge edge the governor will likely rack up in New York City. If Astorino can’t win Westchester decisively in a county executive race, he certainly can’t in a gubernatorial race. And if Astorino does win re-election by a large margin, it could cause Cuomo to become gun-shy about seeking a third term that he might win by less-than-impressive numbers.
Or, perhaps Mercer just wants to support Astorino. After all, in 2014, Mercer helped fund a super PAC, Rescue New York, that spent $1.6 million for ads knocking Cuomo and touting Astorino.
It happened here
Making Their Points
The cartoonists are in town
On Wednesday, some of the nation’s top editorial cartoonists visited Newsday to discuss their craft and kick off the annual American Association of Editorial Cartoonists convention being held this year at Hofstra University, which is a co-sponsor with Newsday.
They talked about drawing the small hands on President Donald Trump — actually, there was a lot of talk about the president — as well as the evolving place of editorial cartoons on digital media. Click here to see the session moderated by our very own Matt Davies. The artists presented and discussed their cartoons and answered questions about their work.