NY Conservative Party Backing Astorino, Says Trump Won't Run

Image: NY Conservative Party Backing Astorino, Says Trump Won't Run Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 12:30 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Donald Trump isn't serious about running for governor of New York, says state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, who is ready to back Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

"I’m ready to move out in front for him [Astorino] as soon he announces," Long told The New York Post. "I believe Rob is going to be the Republican candidate, and I believe he’s the right candidate for this race."

Trump said in January he'd be happy to run for governor as long there is no primary fight.

"I don't want to be knocking [Astorino] or knocking anybody else to win a primary," he said. "I wouldn't waste my time. I wouldn't do it, and you'd make a lot of people very unhappy."

But Long, who said he discussed the race with Astorino, told the Post he believes GOP party leaders will rally around him, and that Trump's demand convinced him that the Manhattan real estate mogul isn't serious about a gubernatorial race.

"If you’re strong enough to beat Andrew Cuomo, as you say, you should be strong enough to beat Astorino in a Republican primary, if necessary. I just don’t see Trump entering the race," Long said.

Many Republican leaders, though, are excited about the possibility of a Trump run, the Post reports, because of his strong name recognition and ability to finance his own campaign.

But state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, like Long, thinks Trump's demand for a clear playing field shows he isn't really interested in running, only seeking publicity as in the past, when he flirted with running for other public offices, including the presidency.

Astorino has not announced his campaign, but said he'll decide by the end of February, and several sources say he has made his decision.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's political operatives just weeks ago said Astorino had promised the governor he wouldn't run, but now also concede he will enter the campaign.

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