Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York says he is “actively exploring” a run for governor next year, as Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a federal investigation into the state’s handling of deaths from COVID in nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“With the cover-up and abuse of his nursing home coming to light, it is clear #CuomosGottaGo. As a New Yorker, I can’t sit back while Cuomo attacks our freedoms, our wallets, and our security. After many messages of encouragement and discussion with my family, I am actively exploring a bid for New York Governor in 2022, “Zeldin, a four-term congressman representing New York’s eastern half of Long Island, tweeted on Tuesday.
FIRST ON FOX NEWS: ZELDIN ENCOURAGED RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR
In an interview with Fox News a couple of hours later, Zeldin reiterated that “I am now actively exploring the race for governor.”
“I believe that Republicans will retake the House in 2022, so with the reality that if I run for governor I will not run for re-election to the House, I only want to do it if it is a race that can be done and won,” he emphasized the congressman.
“If the calls follow the same result as all these texts, emails and calls in the last days and weeks of people communicating, I will feel more encouraged and motivated that New Yorkers are ready for a change,” he said.
Zeldin said his next step will be to make “phone calls across the state to speak to leaders of the Republican Party and Conservative Party, elected officials, former elected officials, others who may be in leadership positions in law enforcement, veteran groups, other organizations, to get everyone’s thoughts and perspective on a candidacy. “
He stressed that “nothing motivates me with the idea of finishing second. I enjoy what I do in the Chamber. I am in my fourth term. I am moving up in seniority.”
“I only want to do that race if it’s a race that we can do and win. If the calls go out like all these texts, emails and calls have gone in the last few days and weeks of people communicating, I’m only going to grow more animated and motivated New Yorkers are ready for a change, “he said.
Fox News was the first to report two weeks ago that Zeldin was being encouraged by prominent Republican leaders and donors to launch a campaign for governor.
Zeldin, an attorney and US Army Reserve officer, was first elected to the Suffolk County Congressional district in 2014. He was a staunch ally and supporter of President Trump during his four years in the White House. .
FOX NEWS LIVE UPDATES ON THE CUOMO DISPUTE
Zeldin said he has spoken to Trump “since he left the White House on a host of issues.”
When asked if he seeks Trump’s endorsement, Zeldin said: “I’m sure if I run I would have his support, but I don’t want to speak for him.”
While New York is a trustworthy blue state where Cuomo won reelection for a third term in 2018 by a massive 23-point margin, the governor has been politically hurt by the current COVID crisis in the state’s nursing homes. Cuomo, who initially won national praise from Democrats and the media last year for his efforts in fighting the pandemic, has suffered dire political fallout in recent weeks due to revelations that his administration concealed the full scope of the pandemic. Nursing home related deaths during the COVID crisis.
And that was before allegations of sexual harassment in recent days by three younger women, including two former Cuomo aides, made national headlines. New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo. On Monday, Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York asked the governor to resign.
REP. GOP. REED SAYS HE IS ‘DEFINITELY WATCHING’ THE NY GOVERNMENT RACE
Zeldin is not the only Republican member of Congress from New York considering a run for governor. Representative Tom Reed, who represents a district on the western edge of the state, told Fox News two weeks ago that he is “definitely looking” to run for governor in 2022. And Representative Elise Stefanik, a rising star in the party, has A bid is not ruled out.