The Republican Rep. New York’s Lee Zeldin announced on Thursday that he is running for governor against Governor Andrew Cuomo, accusing him of what he called a “ deadly warrant and cover for nursing homes ” and saying the Democrat is vulnerable.
“Look, on so many levels, everyone comes to the conclusion – whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, somewhere in between – that this guy has been there too long. It’s time to go, ”Zeldin told Fox & Friends Thursday morning.
Zeldin, who took office in 2015, represents a Long Island district and wants to face Cuomo in the Democratic-leaning state in 2022, where Republicans grappled with statewide elections.
He called his race “one last big chance to save New York.”
New York Representative Lee Zeldin has announced that he is running for governor against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
He is a Trump loyalist who opposed both of the former president’s accusations, and who often put himself on cable news to defend Trump from attacks and investigations.
“This is the first time in my entire life that we have had a democratic one-party system in New York City, Albany and DC, and they are all doing their part to destroy their levels of government. We must… we cannot become complacent, ”he says told the network.
He also tweeted about his run, describing New York as a city suffering from Democratic rule that “ forced its own country to leave ” – as Trump did during his presidency when he moved his official residence to Florida, a lower tax state.
Rarely embrace Trump could be challenging in New York, a state that carried Joe Biden with 61 percent of the vote. Here Trump, right, greets Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., center, and wife Diana Zeldin for a 2019 Hamptons fundraiser
“ The New York that was once a magnet for the world’s best and brightest is now forcing its own country to leave under the crushing weight of skyrocketing taxes, lost jobs, stifling regulations and rising crime as a result of dangerously liberal policies, ” he said .
Cuomo is seeking a fourth term in office at a time when countless women have come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. He is also under fire for his handling of the state’s coronavirus crisis over his order to return COVID-19 patients to nursing homes early in the outbreak.
Last month, while Zeldin was pondering publicly, he declined to say that President Joe Biden had won the election.
Zeldin voted against Joe Biden’s two-state vote counting on Jan. 6. He pushed back when Politico interviewer Ryan Lizza asked if he could say “ unequivocally ” that Biden won.
“Yes, Joe Biden is the President of the United States,” Zeldin replied. “And that’s how you become president of the United States,” Zeldin said.
Lizza again tried to get him to declare directly that Biden had won. “Is or was?” he insisted.
“I deliberately ask that he won the presidential election,” Lizza explained.
Zeldin then shot back, ‘Yes. And then I went on to answer. If you want to give my answer for me, you can do that. But I thought I would be here to answer my own questions, ”he said.
Cuomo faces a myriad of personal and political challenges, but one of his first political plays if he met Zeldin would be to relate him to Trump, who is unpopular in his former home state. Joe Biden beat Trump there by 61 to 38 percent in 2020.
The attorney general’s office is investigating allegations of harassment, groping, and bullying. Should Cuomo resign, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would be the party’s flag-bearer.
In yet another blow to Cuomo, the Washington Post reported that his government had granted special access to state coronavirus testing to Cuomo family members and other figures.
The last Republican governor of the state was George Pataki, who decided not to seek reelection in 2006.
Zeldin’s last word that he’s running comes days after Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump White House adviser and son of former New York City Mayor Andrew Giuliani, said he was thinking about his own run.
He told the New York Times he was “strongly considering” making what would be his first candidacy, with a decision by the end of the month. Another potential candidate is 2014 GOP nominee Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County Executive.