Trump ally Rep. Lee Zeldin exploring NY governor bid amid Cuomo controversies
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., discusses the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York says he’s "actively exploring" a run for governor next year as embattled Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment as well as a federal probe into the state’s handling of COVID deaths at nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"With his nursing home cover-up & abuse coming more to light, it's clear #CuomosGottaGo. As a NYer, I can't sit back as Cuomo attacks our freedoms, our wallets & our safety. After many msgs of encouragement & discussing w/ my fam, I’m actively exploring a 2022 run for Gov of NY," Zeldin – a four-term congressman who represents the eastern half of New York’s Long Island – told Fox News on Tuesday.
Fox News was first to report two weeks ago that Zeldin was being encouraged by prominent Republican leaders and donors to launch a gubernatorial campaign.
Zeldin, an attorney and officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, was first elected to the Suffolk County congressional district in 2014. He was a staunch ally and defender of President Trump during his four years in the White House.
While New York is a reliably blue state where Cuomo won reelection to a third term in 2018 by a massive 23-point margin, the governor has been politically wounded by the state’s current nursing home COVID crisis. Cuomo, who last year initially won national praise from Democrats and the media for his efforts battling the pandemic, suffered serious political fallout in recent weeks from revelations that his administration concealed the full extent of nursing home-related deaths during the COVID crisis.
And that was before allegations of sexual harassment in recent days from three younger women – including two former Cuomo aides, made national headlines. New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened a probe into sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo. On Monday, Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York called on the governor to resign.
Zeldin isn’t the only Republican member of Congress from New York who’s mulling a gubernatorial bid. Rep. Tom Reed – who represents a district in the western edge of the state - told Fox News two weeks ago that he’s "definitely looking" at running for governor in 2022. And Reps. Elise Stefanik, a rising star in the party, has not ruled out a bid.