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Astorino may have to work to get backing of Republicans in legislature

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Astorino may have to work to get backing of Republicans in legislature
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ALBANY, N.Y. — Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino has the support of establishment Republicans in New York, but whether he can get the backing of Republicans in the state Legislature is a larger question.

"The political season is starting soon and I feel very strongly that the Republicans will coalesce when the time comes. They're still working on a budget by the way," said County Executive Astorino, R-Westchester County.

Still, some Republicans haven't ruled out endorsing Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Senate GOP and Cuomo have worked well together. Cuomo has never endorsed a full takeover of the Senate by his own party. Republicans, meanwhile, have paved the way for key Cuomo victories like same-sex marriage and gun control.

Nevertheless, Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco is supporting Astorino, saying it's possible separate the government work from politics.

"Mr. Astorino has proven he can win in a Democrat – in a heavily Democrat area, two to one," said state Sen. DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to tie Astorino's socially conservative views on abortion, gay rights and gun control to the Senate GOP.

"For the Republicans, I would say the important question is do they agree? Do they agree with their candidate? Do they agree with Rob Astorino that they want to roll back all the important protections we've enacted in New York?" asked state Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens.

As for Astorino's approach to the Legislature, he wants to enact term limits for both the governor and for state lawmakers in order to combat corruption.

"I would look at maybe even less – maybe two terms for governor and 12 years or less for a legislator," Astorino said.

For now, it seems unlikely Republicans or Democrats in the Legislature would support term limits. Astorino in Albany on Friday did not rule out a constitutional amendment for term limits.

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