Rob Astorino is a former two-term Westchester County Executive who currently works as a business and media consultant, and serves as an independent director on two company boards. Previously, Astorino was a National and Political Affairs contributor for CNN, and was appointed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan as his delegate to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
In 2014, Astorino was the Republican nominee for Governor of New York. Written off by the media and political class and thoroughly outspent by a popular governor in a heavily Democratic state, Astorino stunned everyone by holding Andrew Cuomo to only 54%, the closest election of Cuomo’s career. Astorino’s impressive 40% and 500,000 vote deficit was by far the best GOP performance since Gov. George Pataki won re-election in 2002. Astorino painted the state red, sweeping 46 of 62 counties and winning the state outside of NYC.
A Wall Street Journal editorial called Astorino’s economic blueprint at the time, “A Plan for New York’s Revival.” Astorino famously challenged Cuomo in their one and only debate to “look voters in the eye” and tell them he wasn’t under federal investigation for corruption. Cuomo declined. Astorino then called on voters to help him end “Cuomo’s cesspool of corruption.” Seven years later, with Cuomo mired in even greater scandals and the state falling even further behind, many now realize Astorino was years ahead of his time in calling out Cuomo’s corruption and incompetence and have urged him to run for governor again.
Astorino was twice elected Westchester County Executive by 13-point margins in a county with almost three times as many Democrats as Republicans. He won the Hispanic vote, captured more than a quarter of the Black vote and pulled in more than 20% of Democrats.
His record as a strong executive is unmatched. In his eight years, Astorino built a bipartisan coalition that reduced property taxes, held spending flat, decreased the workforce by 16%, grew the economy, reached ground-breaking labor contracts, and negotiated major public-private partnerships for Playland Amusement Park, Westchester County Airport and the $1.2 billion North 60 Biotech complex. He also gained national attention by standing up to and defeating HUD in its attempt to dismantle local zoning. And despite his record of bipartisan governance, Astorino would use his veto pen when necessary to stop tax hikes or when he vetoed legislation that would have made Westchester a "Sanctuary County."
Before taking office as County Executive on Jan. 1, 2010, Astorino had a long career in the TV and radio industry. He was the station manager and program director of The Catholic Channel on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio and hosted a weekly radio show from St. Patrick's Cathedral with the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York. In 2001, he helped launch Disney’s ESPN Radio in New York and became the station's senior producer, as well as executive producer of "The Michael Kay Show."
Astorino earned a BA degree in Communications at Fordham University, where he also minored in Spanish and Political Science. In 2001, he studied in Barcelona, Spain, and received a Spanish Immersion Diploma from the Enforex School of International Studies and speaks Spanish to this day.
Astorino is a lifelong resident of Westchester. He and his wife, Sheila, are the parents of three children: Sean, 17, Kiley, 16, Ashlin, 11, and two dogs, Bella and Luna.