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Astorino crisscrosses upstate NY to improve name recognition

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Astorino crisscrosses upstate NY to improve name recognition
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Watch the full interview with Rob Astorino.

Since announcing his run for governor, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has crisscrossed the state promoting his candidacy.

It's an uphill climb: polls show Astorino lags his name recognition. And in January Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported a $33 million war chest. But Astorino said his travel around the state and speaking with voters has only reinforced his message that New York's economy is in trouble.

"It's really an affirmation of what I've believed and that's this state is losing. This state is hurting. There are a lot of people around this state who are screaming for leadership who really want good jobs to their communities," Astorino said.

Astorino campaigned in Cortland and the Southern Tier last week, again pushing for hydrofracking as an economic development plan for the Southern Tier.

"One of the things that can transform the Southern Tier, really all of New York, is allowing and moving forward with natural gas exploration," Astorino said.

Astorino has sought to capitalize on Cuomo's hesitation to approve the controversial drilling process, which is staunchly opposed by environmental advocates.

"Binghamton had the opportunity and may still have the opportunity to be the Dallas of New York," Astorino said.

In part, Astorino is banking on upstate support to propel him to the governor's office, and he's been giving attention a lot of to an area of the state some say is ignored by downstate officials.

They think that we live in Canada up here, I think sometimes. It's only 200 miles to the city and it's another 100 before you get to Canada, so it's a very big state," said Cortlandville Town Supervisor Dick Tupper, a Republican.

Nevertheless, Astorino's facing a heavy lift. Republicans have been shutout of the governor's office since 2006, and haven't won a statewide election in 12 years. But the candidate said New Yorkers of all stripes are sick of Democratic rule.

"The last three governors have been Democrats. We've gotten worse in every category. We continue to get worse. More people leave, taxes continue to go up, businesses throw in the towel. I mean, we're dead last -- 50th -- in all the wrong categories," he said.

For now, Cuomo has largely ignored his opponent. Instead, the state Democratic Committee has launched a pair of negative ads knocking Astorino -- a full seven months before the general election.

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