ALBANY, N.Y. – Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican who carefully allied himself with former President Donald Trump as a member of Congress, has entered the race for New York governor.
Zeldin launched his marketing campaign Thursday nicely forward of the 2022 election, when embattled Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo can be searching for a fourth time period if he decides to run and he isn’t faraway from workplace by then.
The congressman is one in all a number of New York Republicans eyeing the governor’s workplace.
On Wednesday, Andrew Giuliani — son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a former Trump aide himself — informed a number of information shops he’s contemplating a run. North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik, one other Trump ally, has additionally been talked about as a doable candidate.
Zeldin launched his marketing campaign Thursday with a video attacking Cuomo’s record and highlighting the various scandals which have engulfed his administration in current weeks, together with quite a few allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct.
“The bottom line is this: to save New York, Andrew Cuomo’s gotta go,” Zeldin said in a statement announcing his run.
A Long Island native, Zeldin is an Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2006.
An attorney, Zeldin entered politics in 2010, when he won a seat in the state Senate. Four years later, he was elected to Congress, representing much of the eastern end of Long Island.
A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Zeldin is a conservative who was viewed as an ally of Trump’s during the Republican president’s term in office.
Any Republican in New York faces a staunch challenge for statewide office. The state is home to 2.5 times more enrolled Democrats than Republicans, and no Republican has won statewide office since then-Gov. George Pataki won a third term in 2002.
But Cuomo, a Democrat first elected in 2010, is weakened politically amid multiple scandals that seem to grow by the week.
Will Cuomo seek a fourth term?
Most recently, Cuomo has faced questions about his use of state resources to craft and promote his personal book on the COVID-19 crisis, which netted him a substantial profit that will be revealed on his financial disclosure form due next month.
He’s also been accused of sexual misconduct or harassment by several current or former aides, including one woman who says he groped her under her blouse at the Executive Mansion, his residence.
Cuomo has not yet formally launched a campaign for a fourth term, and he is facing an impeachment investigation by the state Assembly that will determine whether the chamber will initiate removal proceedings. Prior to the scandals, Cuomo had been raising money for a run.
When asked in March whether he intends to run for re-election, Cuomo demurred.
“Today is not a day for politics,” he told reporters. “I’m focused on my job.”
On Wednesday, Andrew Giuliani told news outlets that he was weighing a race and had spoken to Trump about it earlier in the week.
“I plan to run,” Giuliani stated, in accordance to the Washington Examiner, which first reported the information.
“Outside of anybody named Trump, I think I have the best chance to win and take the state back, and I think there’s an opportunity in 2022 with a wounded Democratic candidate.”
Jon Campbell is a New York state authorities reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He may be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.