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Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Staunch Conservative, Will Run for N.Y. Governor

New York Times - Thu Apr 8 12:37

New York|Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Staunch Conservative, Will Run for N.Y. Governor


Mr. Zeldin, a Republican congressman and avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, said that to “save New York, Andrew Cuomo’s gotta go.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin in March at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
Credit...Pool photo by Ting Shen

Representative Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican and avid supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, declared on Thursday that he was entering the 2022 race for governor of New York, hoping to emerge as his party’s challenger to embattled Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“The bottom line is this: To save New York, Andrew Cuomo’s gotta go,” Mr. Zeldin, a staunch conservative who represents parts of Long Island, said in a news release.

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, is in the midst of the greatest crisis of his political life, facing investigations and accusations of sexual harassment. Many of the state’s Democratic leaders have asked Mr. Cuomo to resign, and whether he will ultimately run for re-election next year is an open question.

But any Republican, especially one closely tied to Mr. Trump, would have an uphill battle running statewide in New York. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since 2002, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.

Mr. Zeldin’s comments on Thursday previewed how he would seek to position himself in a heavily Democratic state.

“With one-party Democrat rule in New York City and Albany, the light that once shone as a beacon of what America can be has gone dark,” he said.

“The New York that was once a magnet for the world’s best and brightest is now forcing its own to leave under the crushing weight of skyrocketing taxes, lost jobs, suffocating regulations, and rising crime resulting from dangerously liberal policies.”

Mr. Zeldin will be one of at least three declared or potential Republican candidates interested in running for governor who will appear in Albany, N.Y., on April 19 to meet with Republican county chairs to lobby for their support.

Others include Rob Astorino, the party’s 2014 nominee for governor, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.