Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Republican Rob Astorino Challenges Cuomo With Ice Bucket, and On Moreland

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Albany/HV: Republican Rob Astorino Challenges Cuomo With Ice Bucket, and On Moreland
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- With only three months until the November elections, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino took Governor Cuomo and other Albany leaders to task Wednesday with a bucket of ice cold water above his head.

"I now challenge Andrew Cuomo, Jeff Klein, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver," said Astorino, who took the ice bucket challenge for ALS.

With Cuomo in Israel for a two-day trip, Astorino continues to try and find inventive ways to raise his profile, and make political hay out of the Moreland Commission controversy. His efforts toward the latter have not made much progress.

"It's still unfolding. I mean, we're only three weeks into something that is very major and people are starting to understand it," Astorino said on Talk 1300 with Fred Dicker.

A big part of the problem is fundraising. While Cuomo has $35 million in cash on hand, Astorino has about $2 million in the bank, and that means he can't match Cuomo's paid air time on statewide TV.

Voters, meanwhile, just aren't paying attention to the controversy over the governor's involvement in the Moreland Commission and the subsequent federal investigation.

"It's not a huge issue in terms of who voters are supporting but what Astorino needs to do is tell the message about this federal investigation, tell the message of Moreland, get that through to the consciousness of voters," said Steve Greenberg, a Siena College pollster.

Meanwhile, Astorino isn't criticizing Cuomo for visiting Israel in the middle of an election year, telling Fred Dicker that politics stops at the water's edge.

"We should speak with one voice when it comes to Israel and against Hamas and the terrorist agency," Astorino said.

Political observers said Astorino can still find some traction against Cuomo, especially if a grand jury issues any indictments in the Moreland mess. Until then, Cuomo's wide lead and cash advantage may be tough to overcome.

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