Rep. Lee Zeldin announces NY gubernatorial run in 2022
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-1st District) confirmed Thursday that he will run for governor of New York in 2022.
The four-term congressman announced the decision after spending the past few weeks talking with Republican leaders across the state.
A news release announcing his candidacy says, "The bottom line is this: To save New York, Andrew Cuomo's gotta go" and "For many, this feels like a last stand to save our state. Losing is not an option."
Zeldin has called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign following claims of sexual harassment from multiple women. He also has criticized the governor's handling of data involving pandemic-related nursing home deaths.
The 41-year-old took direct aim at Cuomo and promised to bring it "back from the brink" in a new campaign ad.
In an interview with News 12's Doug Geed, Zeldin criticized Democratic policies and said he'd focus more on helping businesses and cutting taxes.
"This is the first time in my lifetime that's there's a one-party Democratic rule in New York City, Albany and Washington all at the same time," says Zeldin. "People not only feel there should be a political balance in Albany, but also a geographic balance. New Yorkers on Long Island should feel like they have the same voice as New Yorkers elsewhere."
Zeldin gained national attention as a staunch defender of former President Donald Trump over the past four years and visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home last month.
Jesse Garcia, Suffolk Republican chairman, says New Yorkers have Cuomo fatigue.
"The country has - because of one-party rule in Washington, Albany and New York City - lurched to the left," says Garcia. "It's lurched to a more socialistic point of view."
Jerry Benjamin, a longtime political science professor at SUNY New Paltz, says a Republican could win a statewide election but adds that it would have to be a celebrity Republican with a strong moderate record.
The last time a Republican was elected governor of New York was 2002.