Tonawanda News

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February 1, 2014

Trump visits WNY, mum on potential run

Tonawanda News — DEPEW — Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump provided a preview Friday of what a Trump-for-governor campaign might look like.

At an upstate New York fundraiser, he called New York’s new gun control laws a disaster, criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax policies for businesses, and supported fracking for natural gas.

Trump was the featured speaker at the $100-per-person event held by the Erie County Republican Party that drew more than 600 people, a record crowd for the county party.

But he came no closer to committing to challenge Cuomo, repeating his oft-told condition that he’ll only run if the state’s Republican Party rallies behind him and he faces no challengers for the nomination.

“You can’t have people going in, knocking the hell out of each other in a primary, spending millions of dollars and then someone comes out wounded and limping,” he said.

Rob Astorino, an official in suburban Westchester County, is favored by some in the GOP establishment and has been traveling around the state talking to potential supporters.

“If they can’t unify, I have other things to do,” Trump told reporters after his address.

For many in the crowd, the well-known Trump represents the Republicans’ best chance at defeating Cuomo.

“It would definitely be the battle of the titans,” said Steve Barnhoorn, of Honeoye. “He’s probably the only one that could beat him. He’s got the money, he’s got the name recognition and he’s got the moxie.”

Trump scored points with gun-owners and other opponents of New York’s new gun law, calling the SAFE Act the “Un-safe act” and saying he is licensed to carry a pistol.

The law governing ownership of assault-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines was passed last January in the aftermath of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

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