BRONX - Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino kicked off his state campaign tour Thursday morning in the Bronx.
A news conference on the steps of Surrogate Courthouse came a day after his official announcement that he is taking on Gov. Andrew Cuomo this fall for the state's top job.
Astorino's announcement comes as a NBC 4/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll showed the Democratic incumbent's performance rating has dropped to its lowest level since he took office in January 2011, tumbling by 10 points since November to 42 percent. According to the poll, Cuomo suffered a big drop among Latino and African-American voters.
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The Astorino campaign has often said, based on its internal numbers, that Astorino was re-elected last fall with the support of more than 60 percent of Hispanics and 25 percent of African-American voters in Westchester.
Meanwhile, same-sex marriage, pro-choice and pro-gun control groups held a counter rally. Astorino, however, is trying to frame the race around his economic record as county executive and not his views on social issues. "I have a good relationship with everybody whether we personally agree or not, and I will continue to have conversations with every New Yorker. I don't see neighbors or anyone walking down the street as Democrats or Republicans. I see them as New Yorkers," says Astorino.
The Marist poll did say that Cuomo's favorability remains high at 63 percent, and in a head-to-head matchup, Cuomo beats Astorino 65 percent to 25 percent. Cuomo also has a sizeable fundraising advantage.
Astorino headed to Buffalo afterward. He will be in Rochester, Syracuse and Albany on Friday.
For extended footage from Astorino's first day on the campaign trail, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.