(AP) – New York Republicans began their convention to elect their candidates for govenor, attorney general and comptroller on Wednesday, upstaged by President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew Cuomo who held an event on the Tappan Zee Bridge, about 10 minutes away.
New York Republicans, hoping to win their first statewide races since 2002, presented a united front at the Westchester convention. The party lined up behind Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, who will be formally nominated on Thursday, and their candidate for attorney general John Cahill and comptroller candidate Robert Antonacci.
Cahill is a former top aide to Republican ex-Gov. George Pataki. Antonacci is the Onondaga County comptroller.
“Today we start the fight to restore New York,” Antonacci told delegates after accepting the nomination.
However, Republicans were incensed that Democrats overshadowed their gathering, accusing them of crashing their party convention. Though Democrats said the timing of the presidential visit was coincidental, top Republicans said it suggests Cuomo is nervous about his match-up with Astorino.
“It’s almost like they sat around and said, ‘It’s time to bring some traffic problems to the New York state convention,’” Cahill said, referring to the scheme by loyalists of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to strangle traffic near the George Washington Bridge as political payback.
Astorino joined Obama and Cuomo for the bridge event.