WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said he and his exploratory committee will convene on Friday, Feb. 28 to make a decision about moving forward with a gubernatorial run.
Astorino, who announced a new job initiative for Westchester in White Plains on Monday, said he was committed to making a decision by the end of the month, and would publicly announce his decision in "a matter of days."
He intimated a press conference would not occur over the weekend, suggesting a possible Monday announcement.
The county executive explained his vacillating during the exploratory process as being symptomatic of a condensed time frame, citing his election in November and subsequent budget negotiations as roadblocks in performing due diligence and talking to people in 62 counties.
"There's only eight months left in this race," he said. "If this had started a year ago, things might be different."
He dispelled rumors suggesting he would be running a practice campaign to garner name recognition for future races.
"If I'm going to run, I'm going to run to win - not to carry a flag. So it's important we have all of our ducks in a row," he said.
He cited money as his biggest challenge during the exploratory phase, saying regardless of how many donations he receives, his budget will not match incumbent Andrew Cuomo's.
"You don't go into something like this without enough money in your pockets," he said. "If I believe I can win, and I have the resources to get my message out, then I will run."
As for his potential rival for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump, Astorino said while he takes the multi-billionaire seriously, he's not all that worried.
"At this point, he just needs to decide if he's going to run or not. If he does decide to run, there will be a primary, and that might be a good thing because then we can both get our messages out," he said.
He added he would invite Trump to support his run, should he decide to sit this one out.
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