Astorino claims Cuomo aide made him sit in the back during president's speech

May 15, 2014

The Republican candidate for governor, Rob Astorino, claims an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo made him sit in the back during President Barack Obama’s visit to New York City's Tappan Zee Bridge Wednesday, a charge Cuomo’s spokesman denies.

President Obama spoke near the bridge in Westchester County on the opening day of the state Republican Party convention, held just a few miles away nearby.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who is also the GOP nominee for governor, attended the event, along with his opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Astorino says he was initially told by the White House that he could sit in the front row, but when aides went to find his seat, they were told the places were all reserved for others, including Cuomo.

“They had reserved seats, apparently for me in the front row, the next thing I know, I couldn’t get that ticket off Stubhub, I was in the back,” Astorino said with a laugh.

The Republican gubernatorial nominee admits he doesn’t know exactly what happened.  

“All I’ve been told is that the governor’s staff refused to allow us up front,” Astorino said.

A spokesman for Cuomo denies it ever happened, and says they had nothing to do with the seating.