Governor Cuomo thinks so.
Front page of the New York Times today sketches a story of Cuomo trying to convince NY Republicans that Rob Astorino is too conservative for them —
In Mr. Cuomo’s conversations with Republicans, officials say, the governor has specifically warned that he would campaign hard against Mr. Astorino, painting him as a hard-line conservative — by highlighting his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion rights and strict gun laws approved last year.
“He’s told me that if Astorino runs, he is going to pound the hell out of him and talk about guns and gays, and it won’t be pretty and will hurt all of us,” said a Republican senator who asked not to be named.
This is blatant concern trolling, of course — Republicans are not going to take Cuomo’s advice — but it does lay out the expected themes for the race. Rob Astorino wants everyone to think of him as a tax-cutting fiscal conservative, but Cuomo will instead remind voters that Astorino thinks Roe v Wade is “infanticide”.
But wait, isn’t this exactly what Noam Bramson’s campaign tried last year?
Much as Cuomo is threatening to, the Dem who ran against Astorino tried to paint him as a Tea Party extremist and it failed miserably.
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) February 27, 2014
Bramson was trying to challenge an existing brand at a paid media disadvantage and in a county with ineffective earned media. Cuomo will use superior finances and major market echo chamber to define an unknown candidate.
Same playbook + totally different scenario = opposite result.