Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (left) and Senator Peter Harckham (right).

Hudson Power Broker, Original Content

One of the most closely watched state legislative races this year happens to be right here in the Hudson Valley where first-term Senator, Peter Harckham faces former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. 


Two years ago, Harckham rode anti-Trump sentiment in the Democrat-leaning district to a surprise victory over incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy and once again it appears that Harckham’s strategy is Trump and little else.


A June 25th email from the Harckham campaign screams “say NO! to Rob Astorino and his friend, Donald Trump.” 


A July 10th email called Astorino a “mega MAGA-Trump supporter.”  One day later, another email said Astorino was a “shameless defender of Trump’s divisive politics” and was “entirely out of step with Hudson Valley values.” 


By contrast, Astorino appears to be focusing his election effort on his 8-year record as Westchester County Executive and his plan to fix Albany and rebuild New York. He’s also publicly criticized Harckham’s bill that eliminated cash bail and Harckham’s new bill that would strip state funding from any school with a race or ethnic-based mascot such as Vikings, Spartans or Indians.


A former elected Democratic official from Westchester who asked to remain anonymous and who knows both men questioned Harckham’s strategy.


“It’s one thing to disagree with Rob Astorino on policy but to pretend that he and Trump are one in the same? He’s completely different from Trump.  Rob’s a nice guy.”


Other top Democrat officials have said similar positive things about Astorino on the record.  In a recent Astorino mailing that had Harckham crying foul, Astorino included old quotes from well-known Democrats speaking to Rob’s cordiality and willingness to work together.


“When I think of good people on the Republican side, I think of Rob Astorino,” said Democratic NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.


Democratic U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer said, “We work very well together in a real bipartisan way.”


And Harckham’s own conference leader, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, once publicly called Astorino “an affable person” and credited him for “making government smaller and not ever raising taxes.”


HPB will continue to watch this exciting race and bring updates.  It will be quite interesting to see whether Harckham’s singular anti-Trump focus or Astorino’s focus on his record and policy plans ultimately wins the day.


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