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Rob Astorino (R) talking to a couple of people outdoors
Doomed Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino
As expected, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has finally announced his campaign for governor of New York, making this one of the clearest instances ever of a candidate whose only goal is to "lose well." That's because Astorino, a Republican who just won re-election last fall, is sure to get smashed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Despite representing a swingy suburban county, Astorino is very conservative (anti-choice, anti-marriage equality) while Cuomo remains broadly popular despite infuriating progressives, and his war chest is beyond enormous. Indeed, early polling shows Cuomo defeating Astorino by an average margin of 62-23. New York is simply a very blue state and is only getting bluer.

So what's Astorino's parlay play here? Even if he can somehow hold Cuomo to a "respectable" margin, he wouldn't have a much better shot at another statewide office somewhere else down the line, barring a wave year or a massive Democratic screw-up. As for the House, Astorino's home of Mount Pleasant is in the blue-leaning 17th District; if Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey were to retire (she's 76), he'd make a compelling candidate there, but it's still not a good seat for Republicans. Astorino could also conceivably carpetbag elsewhere in the Hudson Valley, but there's no looming open seat that's really begging for him.

Another, very different alternative would be for Astorino to try to land a media gig—before entering politics, he was a radio host and producer and still keeps a foot in that world. Losing a bruising statewide campaign for governor certainly isn't the easiest way to interview for a new job. But even after he loses, Astorino will still have three more years to serve as county executive, giving him plenty of time to plan his next steps, whatever they may be.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

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    by David Nir on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:28:56 PM PST

  •  You should always try to have a token candidate (9+ / 0-)

    Just in case the other guy dies or has a major scandal.

  •  While I don't doubt that (9+ / 0-)

    Astorino will, in the end, turn out to be a GOP sacrificial lamb, Cuomo and his team need to watch out for him.  He is a brutal and dirty campaigner.  I suspect that his campaign will be more about bruising Cuomo for future office than anything else, other than setting himself up for a possible slot on Faux News.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 02:55:25 PM PST

    •  that's exactly right... (4+ / 0-)

      ...Republicans desperately want to take any Democrat, but especially Cuomo, down a few notches, so to speak.

      Tricky Dick Nixon's son-in-law, Ed Cox has been praising Astorino for a long time as his choice to run against Cuomo, probably for that exact purpose.

      There are also a few other strategic purposes in having someone like Astorino running. Though Astorino may be conservative, he's not a bat-shit certified nutjob like Carl Paladino, who was a disaster for Republicans when he headed up the Republican ticket as Cuomo's opponent last time.

      Astorino could make a significant difference for Republicans in many ways. He can help solidify turnout in traditional Republican areas, especially upstate, which can help state legislative and even Congressional candidates (like NY-21, where unlikely Democratic Rep. Bill Owens is retiring, which has Republicans smacking their lips at the pickup opportunity).

      A respectable performance by Astorino can also help Republicans in Congressional races in NY-23, where Republican Tom Reed had a unexpectedly tight reelection last time, and in NY-19, where Rep. Chris Gibson faces a potentially difficult reelection campaign.

      He can also help Republicans solidify their current state legislative seats and, possibly, help them pick up a few.

    •  I don't think that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, Mannie, Rosalie907, corvo

      Cuomo needs a republican opponent for this.

      I suspect that his campaign will be more about bruising Cuomo for future office than anything else,
      He's doing a good job of that on his own as far as I'm concerned.


      The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

      by nupstateny on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:01:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  fine with me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, The Caped Composer, corvo

      we have plenty of better candidates for higher office than Cuomo.

      "I join Justice Ginsburg's dissent in full." - Clarence Thomas in Philip Morris USA v. Williams

      by James Allen on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:30:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unlike Paladino, Astorino won't even (4+ / 0-)

    carry his home county.

    Sure he won re-election easily, as an incumbent against a little-known, no-money challenger.

    Against Cuomo, Astorino is the little-known, no-money challenger.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:35:29 PM PST

    •  He'll also be running in a higher (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, devtob

      voter turnout year.  His elections for County Exec were in 2009 and 2013 -- lower turnout elections than 2014 will be.  That will hurt him down county in Westchester.

      With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:52:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  US Senator slots will open up - get the brand out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:45:37 PM PST

  •  Well someone has to carry the banner for the party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Feadog

    I mean the same could be said in reverse for Dems running in Deep red states with a popular GOP governor.

    Bill Haslam will probably crush any of the Dems that run.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it" - Upton Sinclair

    by lordpet8 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:55:21 PM PST

  •  He's no Carl Paladio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie

    So this will be a quiet election with Cuomo the victor unless something bad comes out about him in the Bridgegate scandel.  

    Look, I'm no fan of Cuomo but I'd rather see him in Albany than a Republicon who is against things such as marriage equality and a woman's right to choose.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

    by Rosalie907 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:50:06 PM PST

    •  I agree but (0+ / 0-)

      shouldn't we PRIMARY Cuomo?!

      Isn't there a mantra here on DKOS about BETTER DEMOCRATS!!!!!!

      (Because you can't get much worse than Cuomo as a Democrat!)

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:01:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anyone who primaries Cuomo (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David Nir, James Allen

        Would seal their political death warrant.  Sure, I'd like to see someone primary him but they'll be finished if they do.

        Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

        by Rosalie907 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:47:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  David Nir (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zornorph

    I live in the red-belt; Nebraska.

    Take your diary, turn it around and tell the story about Chuck Hassebrook (D) running for governor here in Nebraska.

    We still try to push the pendulum back the other way, no matter how you view us.

    Thanks for the utter contempt, David; thanks a pantload.

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:35:11 PM PST

    •  This is a sincere question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      Because your comment baffles me: How would you have written this post to avoid an alleged display of "contempt"?

      Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

      by David Nir on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:18:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me try to express this another way. (0+ / 0-)

        The comments made about the New York candidate are all but mocking and express disgust for his attempt running for governor.

        Whenever I read anything, I imagine it is the opposite way around. A Republican commenting about a Democrat running in Nebraska.

        It is the Republican's attempt in New York to push the pendulum to the Right.
        In Nebraska, we're working hard to push it Left.

        If you're eager to belittle his effort, it stands that us fighting back to Left would also be viewed the same way.

        •  That wasn't what I asked (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't ask how you interpreted what I wrote. I asked how you would have written this post in a way that did not "mock and express disgust."

          Needless to say, I disagree entirely, both with your premise and your conclusion. There's no way I'm going to praise a conservative Republican like Rob Astorino for trying to drive my state to the right—both because the thought of doing so sickens me, and because I don't believe that's what Astorino's trying to do. He's not some noble soldier fighting an uphill fight for his party. He's motivated by personal interest.

          So that's why I ask you how you'd have written this post. The fact is that Astorino will lose—that's inarguable. And while perhaps it's a bit more arguable, it's almost certain that he's doing this for himself. So which remarks of mine, exactly, were dripping with the contempt you claim to see?

          Astorino trails by 40 points in the polls, including a new one released last night after I wrote this post. I wrote that he's "sure to get smashed." That is factually correct, and in fact incredibly mild. I didn't call him an idiot, I didn't sneer at him—I simply said that he's going to lose.

          In other words, I have the strong feeling that I can't possibly win with you. Any factual post about Astorino running, and his intentions, would necessarily come off as contemptuous in your view, or so it seems to me.

          Which is why, again I say, I asked how you'd have written this post. But you declined to answer and simply restated your position.

          And even though you've already concluded that I'd be contemptuous of Chuck Hassebrook, you might want to read what I actually wrote about him when he announced his bid:

          Former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook, whom you may remember from his brief run for Senate in 2012, just became the first Democrat to announce a bid for the state's open gubernatorial contest. Last year, Hassebrook was the only Democrat to step up for the Senate seat left open by Ben Nelson's retirement, giving up his regent post to do so (it's an elected position). But at the last possible minute, ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey changed his mind and launched a longshot comeback bid; Hassebrook did the menschy thing and dropped out to avoid a contested primary, but given Kerrey's 16-point loss, Hassebrook may have dodged a bullet. The governor's race will be a tremendously difficult fight for any Democrat, but it probably offers more favorable turf than a federal race would, simply because most of the issues in play will be local rather than national in flavor.

          Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

          by David Nir on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 02:12:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  this Astorino guy looks like he's thirty years old (0+ / 0-)

    formerly demographicarmageddon

    by bonzo925 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:43:14 PM PST

  •  I thought NY already had a Republican governor nt (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, James Allen, Puddytat, JeffW, The Marti

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:44:54 PM PST

    •  Someone who knows please put in Top Comments! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Puddytat

      A sad LOL at that very true statement you made!

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:03:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw your "flag" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie

        and it will appear in Top Comments tonight.

        Submitting comments is easy.  Just click on the date/time stamp of the comment you want to submit and copy the URL (that http:// stuff) and send it to Top Comments in a kosmail or gmail (topcomments@gmail.com) along with a brief statement of why you're submitting it.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 03:39:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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