NEW YORK CITY, NY, March 10, 2014 ( – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to spend as much as $10 million on attack ads painting potential Republican gubernatorial opponent Rob Astorino as a “right-wing nut” for his views on the environment, abortion, and other issues, political insiders told the New York Post.

Astorino, who is backed by the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, just announced his candidacy in the Republican primary last week and is relatively unknown, so Cuomo hopes to define his public image, the paper reports.

In January, Cuomo disparaged “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay.” He backtracked after intense backlash. 


According to Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, “Cuomo is the extremist.”

“Astorino has done a great job as County Executive of Westchester County, has governed very well, and got elected with a substantial margin from the voters of Westchester County,” Long told LifeSiteNews. “[Astorino's] opponent in the last election tried to do the same thing, going after him on abortion and for possessing other socially conservative views, but it didn't work. He's probably one of the most outstanding county executives in New York State.” 

“They're going to try to paint Astorino as an extremist, but Cuomo is the extremist. He's already said there is no room for people in New York State who are pro-life and are in favor of traditional marriage.” reports that Astorino believes abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest. Cuomo has regularly pushed pro-abortion policies at the state level, including a failed proposal that would have decriminalized abortions after 24 weeks if a woman's health is at risk. 

Long told he does not believe social issues will be of large importance in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

Cuomo will fundraise from abortion, environmental, and other groups traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party, and include Astorino's perspectives on them in his attacks. However, the governor faces publicity challenges of his own. He has been tied to “corrupt means” of bringing a lawsuit against the oil giant Chevron. The oil giant saw a $18 billion judgment against it, but one of Cuomo's top aides had a wife involved with the lawsuit. Cuomo, who was attorney general in 2011, threatened Chevron with legal action over its environmental policies.

Tracey Brooks, of Family Planning Advocate, criticized Astorino shortly after he announced his candidacy because Astorina “used his own personal pocketbook to make contributions to the National Right-to-Life community.” 

A request for comment to Astorino's campaign was not returned.