Rob Astorino

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Rob Astorino
Astorino crop.jpg
Executive of Westchester County
Assumed office
January 1, 2010
Preceded by Andrew Spano
Member of the
Westchester County Board of Legislators
from the 3rd district
In office
January 2003 – January 2005
Preceded by Sue Swanson
Succeeded by John Nonna
Personal details
Born (1967-05-03) May 3, 1967 (age 50)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sheila McCloskey
Children 3
Alma mater Fordham University (BA)
Website Campaign website

Robert P. Astorino (born May 3, 1967) is the Republican Westchester County Executive and an American media personality and politician. He was one of the founders of 1050 AM ESPN Radio in New York City, and worked as the station's Executive Producer, and as executive producer of The Michael Kay Show. He is also a television host on the MSG Network.

Astorino served as a member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 2003 to 2005, when he launched an unsuccessful bid to unseat Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano. In 2009, he was elected County Executive as a Republican, defeating Spano. In 2013, Astorino defeated Democratic challenger Noam Bramson, mayor of New Rochelle,[1] for reelection. He resides in Mount Pleasant, New York with his wife and three children. In 2014, he was the Republican nominee for Governor in that year's gubernatorial election, but was defeated by incumbent Andrew Cuomo.

Early career and background[edit]

Astorino grew up in Thornwood, New York. He is of three-quarters Italian descent. He attended Westlake High School, and enrolled in Fordham University where he received a bachelor's degree in Communications in 1989.[2] At the age of twenty one, while attending college, he was elected to the Mount Pleasant board of education, but resigned three years later to take a position at WFAS radio in White Plains.[3] He later attended the Enforex School of International Studies in Barcelona, Spain where he became fluent in Spanish.[2]

He is a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.[4] After graduating, he hosted the weeknight sports shows Inside Sports on WFAS radio, served as host and producer of Sports Rap on the Sports Channel television network.[5] In 2001, he helped launch ESPN Radio in New York City.[6][7]

Astorino is also an anchor for the MSG Network program Talk of our Town.[4] He is the recipient of the Associated Press award for Best Spot News Coverage and award for Best News Program, and the Metro New York Achievement in Radio award.[2]

ESPN radio[edit]

In 2001, he was one of the founders of 1050 ESPN Radio in New York.[7][8] He directed the rebranding of New York's WEVD-AM 1050 from a talk radio station to an all sports format.[9] He became the station's Senior Producer, and worked as Executive Producer of The Michael Kay Show.[10] He was promoted to Station Executive Producer and served until 2005, when he resigned to run for County Executive.[11][12]

As the producer of the 4 to 7 PM time slot, the team of talent assembled by Astorino included Michael Kay and Joey Salvia, and helped the show in its success against long time afternoon sports radio mainstay Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN.[13][14] His accomplishments include securing broadcast rights for the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, also at the expense of WFAN.[13]

Satellite radio[edit]

In 2007, Astorino was hired as the first program director for Sirius Satellite Radio's "The Catholic Channel".[7] He hosted a Thursday night program with Cardinal Edward Egan, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York.[7]

Astorino was hesitant at first to work on religious radio, but he changed his mind when he found out "The Catholic Channel" would be different.[15] He stated, "I think it's a great opportunity not just for the archdiocese but for the Catholic Church as a whole to reach out to people across the country with a message, and have a two-way conversation."[7]

According to the Journal News, "With total authority over programming, the Archdiocese of New York was given the rare opportunity to play Michelangelo and create something new. Egan, who is not known to be a great communicator like his predecessor, Cardinal John O'Connor, gave the project his blessing. In addition to his show, he welcomed Sirius listeners when Sunday Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral was broadcast."[15]

Political career[edit]

In 1991, Astorino defeated an incumbent town councilman in Mount Pleasant and was elected to the town board. He was reelected in 1995 and 1999.[4] During his tenure on the town board, he served six years as Deputy Supervisor and 8 years as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which oversees the police department.[3]

Westchester County Executive Andrew O'Rourke appointed Astorino to the Westchester County Board of Ethics in 1996, and he was reappointed by O'Rourke's successor, Andy Spano in 1999.[2] He served one term on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, and ran an aggressive campaign as a candidate for County Executive in 2005.[16] Astorino was among the finalists for Lieutenant Governor to gubernatorial candidate John Faso in 2006.[17]

County legislature[edit]

In 2003, Astorino announced he was a candidate to replace retiring County Legislator Sue Swanson, who represented a district encompassing Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, North Castle, West Harrison, and portions of northern Greenburgh.[18] Astorino defeated his challenger with an aggressive campaign, which according to the Journal News, "raised the bar" for candidacies to the Board of Legislators.[19]

As a county legislator, Astorino was involved in plans to redevelop the Saw Mill River Parkway and restore wetlands, which is often flooded dangerously during rain storms, and coordinated meetings between the environmentalist groups, New York State Department of Transportation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 2005.[20] He helped the board stop Westchester's payments of a "franchise fee" to their bus operator, Liberty Transit Inc., after drawing attention that the contract with the company did not provide for such a payment.[21]

Once elected, he served on the committees for parks and recreation; housing; health; public safety and criminal justice; youth; and county officers and departments.[2] After serving only two years, Astorino opted not to run for reelection, instead focusing on a challenge to incumbent County Executive Andy Spano.[22] As an outgoing legislator, he opposed the pay increases that were enacted for board members.[23]

2005 race for County Executive[edit]

The 2005 campaign for Westchester County Executive pitted the two-term Democratic incumbent Andy Spano, against Astorino, a Republican.[4] The race featured instances where Astorino publicized a homemade video of a security breach at the County's Kenisco dam, while the incumbent, according to the New York Times, "in the face of record property-tax increases, has busied himself with a campaign against steroids for schoolchildren, as a follow-up to an anti-bullying initiative that featured admonitions from Spider-Man."[16][24]

As of 2008, real property taxes in Westchester had increased in Westchester by 54% since 2000.[25] Making the tax issue the centerpiece of his campaign, he railed against two straight years of double digit property tax increases in the county budget, and called Spano out of touch with voters, criticizing a visit to China by Spano during the seven-week Bee Line Bus strike which cost taxpayers $3 million.[26][27]

Facing an uphill battle in a Democratic County against an incumbent who raised four times as much money, Astorino made a surprisingly strong showing and was defeated by 30,000 votes.[28][29] Overall voter turnout was light and incumbents were largely successful throughout the County.[30]

2009 race for County Executive[edit]

On March 21, 2009, Astorino announced that he would run again for Westchester County Executive.[29][31] In a surprising upset, he was elected to the position on November 3, 2009, defeating incumbent Andy Spano by 15 percentage points [32]

2013 race for County Executive[edit]

Astorino announced that he would run again for reelection for Westchester County Executive. He defeated challenger Democratic candidate Mayor Noam Bramson[1] by 12 percentage points.

2014 race for New York State Governor[edit]

On March 5, 2014, Astorino announced that he would run for New York State Governor. Astorino has called for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's resignation as chairman of Republican Governors Association, for his lack of support, which he claims is in deference to incumbent Democratic Andrew Cuomo.[33] He was defeated in the election.[34]

Elijah Miller House Veto[edit]

In 2010 the county legislature passed a $1.2 million bond issue to finance the restoration of the Elijah Miller House. County executive Robert Astorino, who had previously supported preserving the building five years earlier as a member of the legislature, vetoed the measure, saying it should be supported by private funds.[35]

Electoral history[edit]

Westchester County Executive, 2013[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Noam Bramson 80,362 44%
Republican Rob Astorino (incumbent) 102,505 56%
Westchester County Executive, 2009[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Andrew Spano (incumbent) 70,739 43.10%
Republican Rob Astorino 93,382 56.90%
Westchester County Executive, 2005[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Andy Spano (incumbent) 111,746 58.2% Democrat hold
Republican Rob Astorino 80,139 41.8%
Westchester County Legislator - District 3, 2003[39]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John M. Nonna 5,074 47.7%
Republican Rob Astorino 5,564 52.3% Republican hold


  1. ^ a b Egan, Bobbi. "They're Off... The Race for County Executive". The River Journal. The River Journal. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Robert Astorino, Legislator-District 3". Westchester County Board of Legislators. Retrieved on March 17, 2008.
  3. ^ a b O'Connor, Anahad. "Less Widely Known, but Not Cowed". New York Times. October 30, 2005.
  4. ^ a b c d "About Rob". Astorino for County Executive. Retrieved March 17, 2008.
  5. ^ Cafaro, Danny. "Sportschannel aims for the human side of Tartabull". The Record. August 7, 1993.
  6. ^ McBride, Cliff. "Home, But Far From Alone". Tampa Bay Online. January 21, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e McDonnell, Claudi. "Archdiocese, Sirius Satellite Radio launch the Catholic Channel". Catholic New York. December 7, 2006.
  8. ^ "Bearden, Michelle. Home, but far from alone". Tampa Tribune. January 21, 2007.
  9. ^ "The biz: ESPN radio looks to score". Advertising Age. June 24, 2002.
  10. ^ West, Debra. "The Water Log". New York Times. October 9, 2005.
  11. ^ Holloway, Kevin. "NYC's 1050 ESPN Radio partners with PGA TOUR Radio". PGA Tour Radio. March 1, 2002.
  12. ^ Fuchs, Marek. "Why Radio Loosened Brian Williams's Tongue". New York Times. October 16, 2005.
  13. ^ a b McManus, Jane. "Kay goes head to head with 'Mad Dog'". Journal News. January 7, 2005.
  14. ^ Buro, John J. "The SportsFan Magazine Interview: Michael Kay". SportsFan Magazine. January 18, 2005.
  15. ^ a b Stern, Gary. "Catholic radio brings church to new medium". Journal News. May 1, 2007.
  16. ^ a b Reisman, Phil. "Surfing these Web sites could cure case of insomnia". Journal News. October 16, 2005.
  17. ^ Blainn, Glenn. "Astorino Working For KT". Journal News. April 5, 2006.
  18. ^ Anderson, Liz. "Astorino weighs his future". Journal News. May 4, 2007.
  19. ^ "Our recommendations for Westchester Board of Legislators". Journal News. October 28, 2007.
  20. ^ Lombardi, Kate Stone. "Remember: It's the Saw Mill RIVER Parkway". New York Times. November 20, 2005.
  21. ^ B.Z. Khasru. "Liberty's 'franchise fee' is not in county contract". Westchester Business Journal. April 11, 2005.
  22. ^ Medina, Jennifer. "Republican Claims Victory in the Race to Replace Pirro". New York Times. November 9, 2005.
  23. ^ Fuchs, Marek. "Pols Deserve A Raise? Says Who?". New York Times. December 25, 2005.
  24. ^ Fuchs, Marek. "Wait a Minute: Why Are We Running Again?". New York Times. October 30, 2005.
  25. ^ "Republican County Legislators Speak Out Against Raises and Budget". December 14, 2007.
  26. ^ Philippidis, Alex. "Business Leaders Fume As County Taxes Zoom". Westchester County Business Journal. February 16, 2004.
  27. ^ B.Z. Khasru. "Free bus rides will cost county $3 million". Westchester Business Journal. May 2, 2005.
  28. ^ O'Connor, Anahad. "The Leader in This Race Isn't Sweating". New York Times. October 23, 2005.
  29. ^ a b Blain, Glenn. "Astorino gearing up for 2009?". Journal News. January 23, 2008.
  30. ^ Philippidis, Alex. "Complacency, development issues sway local vote". Westchester Business Journal. November 14, 2005.
  31. ^ Blain, Glenn. "Astorino’s big announcement". Journal News. May 11, 2007.
  32. ^ Robbins, Liz. "Voters Roll Back Democratic Gains in New York Suburbs". New York Times. November 4, 2009.
  33. ^ Hayes, Mellissa (July 22, 2014). "N.Y. GOP candidate for governor questions lacof support from Christie". Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ Applebome, Peter (July 4, 2010). "A House With a Role in the Revolution Is Now Left Unprotected". The New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Official Tally of Election Results". 20013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  37. ^ "Official Tally of Election Results" (PDF). 20013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  38. ^ "2005 General Canvass Election Results" (PDF). Westchester County Board of Elections. 2005. 
  39. ^ "2003 General Canvass Election Results" (PDF). Westchester County Board of Elections. 2003. 

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Sue Swanson
Member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators
from the 3rd district

Succeeded by
John Nonna
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Spano
Executive of Westchester County
Party political offices
Preceded by
Carl Paladino
Republican nominee for Governor of New York
Most recent