Republican U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island has announced he will explore a potential run for governor of New York.
Zeldin tweeted this week that he will talk with Republican Party leaders across the state to see if he has the support to be the GOP candidate in 2022.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would seek re-election. However, Cuomo is ensnared in two controversies about his policies on nursing homes during the pandemic and sexual harassment allegations from former staffers.
Zeldin has been critical of Cuomo’s emergency powers to handle coronavirus, and called for investigations and the governor’s resignation over the recent allegations.
Zeldin was on former President Donald Trump’s legal defense team during his impeachment hearings. He is also a veteran of the Iraq War and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Zeldin said it was weeks of “emotional” pleas from New Yorkers that led him to explore a possible run for governor of New York.
Zeldin said he had not thought about a gubernatorial run before. But a slew of impassioned pleas made him decide to explore the possibility.
“I was receiving a lot of phone calls and texts and emails from New Yorkers reaching out very emotionally, very passionately talking about our state, talking about their frustration with the governor,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin said he would expect former President Trump’s support if he decides to run — but that New Yorkers are more focused on the state’s economy, taxes and quality of life issues.
Zeldin has been critical of incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo over his pandemic policies and sexual harassment accusations.