ALBANY — Guardian Angels founder and long-time radio host Curtis Sliwa — Chairman of the state Reform Party founded by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino — makes no apologies for using the organization to endorse Astorino’s Democratic challenger, State Senator George Latimer.
Rob Astorino, who is running for a third term, founded the party in 2014 as the Stop Common Core Party when he unsuccessfully ran for governor, later changing its name. Sliwa took control of the party in 2016 in a move that has been challenged in court.
Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels, February 13, 1979, in New York City told The Daily News that Astorino had drifted away from the Reform Party Platform and the party will no longer be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party.
“For me it was difficult to make that decision since I was a personal friend of Astorino’s and had campaigned for him previously,” Sliwa told the Daily News.
“But in recent conversations that I have had with him, he seems to have drifted away from the positions of our Reform Party Platform. Whoever the best candidate is will get our endorsement, regardless of party affiliation,” he said. “And in this race, without a doubt, George Latimer is the best candidate.”
Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Astorino’s campaign, said Astorino is the true champion for government reform.
“He’s never once raised taxes,” O’Reilly said. “County government spends less than it did when he first came into office; Westchester now has its own term limits, and Astorino is now finding ways to produce revenue for key infrastructure improvements so that taxpayers don’t get stuck with the bill going forward.”
“I’ve long advanced true reform of government,” Latimer said. “It’s clear that Rob Astorino simply does not represent the values of civic participation, transparency, and oversight that the Reform Party is committed to defending in our elections.”
Sen. Latimer who received both the Westchester Democratic Party and the Westchester Independence Party endorsements will have to face County Legislator Ken Jenkins in a September primary for the right to challenge Astorino in the General Election. Latimer also has the Working Families Party endorsement as well as the Women’s Equality endorsement, a ballot line created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014.