ALBANY, N.Y. — As businessman and TV personality Donald Trump publicly mulls a run for governor, another potential Republican candidate on Wednesday offered a direct challenge.
"If Donald Trump wants to run – run. Start going around the state. There are 62 counties, just in case he wasn't aware," said County Executive Rob Astorino, Westchester County.
"It's a big state, it's more than just 5th Avenue."
Astorino is yet to officially declare a run for governor himself, but he has an exploratory committee called Astorino for Governor and a redone campaign website that has a focus on state issues.
Trump, meanwhile, said on Twitter he has internal polling that shows him beating Astorino in a Republican primary. Astorino shrugged that off in front of reporters.
"Everyone we've talked to in New York City or around the state doesn't take him seriously, quite frankly, and their support of me will be whether he's running or not," Astorino said.
Astorino was in Albany on Wednesday to meet with unnamed Republican state senators to talk policy. It's the latest in a string of trips the Republican has made to Albany as well as other points around New York since he won re-election for a second term.
The frequent travel is something that Democrats in Westchester are now criticizing Astorino for in a website tracking his out-of-country trips. The website is an early sign that Democrats are taking Astorino's candidacy seriously, even if he hasn't officially declared.
The county executive brushed off the criticism because, after all, Governor Cuomo has been traveling around the country fundraising himself.
"You know, it's pretty funny. I'm waiting for the dropdown box on that website to show where Cuomo has gone for his $50,000 a plate fundraiser or $25,000 a plate fundraiser in D.C. I'm waiting for that drop box, too. Maybe it's under hypocritical, I'm not sure," Astorino said.
Astorino insists he'll make his decision at end of this month. Raising funds against Cuomo and his $33 million war chest is expected to be a factor.
"We're raising money. We're making sure that we're ready. It's not ready fire and aim. It's ready, aim, fire. We want to make sure everything is set."