Republican Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin may challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the state’s top office in 2022, he announced Tuesday amid the multiple scandals engulfing the three-term Democratic incumbent.
“After your many messages of encouragement and after discussing it at length with my wife and daughters, I just announced that I am actively exploring a run for Governor of New York against Andrew Cuomo in 2022,” Zeldin said in a message posted Tuesday on Facebook.
“As a proud New Yorker, I just can’t sit back and watch Cuomo’s attacks on our freedoms, our wallets and our safety.
Zeldin continued, “After his nursing home cover-up, bullying, abuse and harassment have come more to light in recent days and weeks, it’s clearer now more than ever that he’s been in the Governor’s office too long and it’s time for Cuomo to go.”
Zeldin’s announcement comes just weeks after top state GOP officials encouraged him to run for governor next year.
Zeldin is an Iraq military vet who was handily re-elected last November to a fourth term representing Suffolk County’s 1st Congressional District.
He previously served in the state Senate.
Zeldin, 41, would have issues of his own to address should he take on Cuomo.
He voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election after a mob of pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 — an issue that might turn off many Democrats in blue New York.
Cuomo is facing growing calls to resign after three women — including two who were in his employ — accused him of sexual harassment.
Cuomo’s latest woes began last week when former staffer Lindsey Boylan, 36, penned a Medium piece accusing the 63-year-old governor of kissing her on the lips without warning and suggesting they play strip poker to pass a flight.
On Saturday, another former staffer, Charlotte Bennett, 25, alleged that Cuomo made inappropriate remarks and asked questions about her sex life, leaving her convinced he was in pursuit of a relationship.
And on Monday, the 33-year-old Anna Ruch — who said she had not previously met Cuomo — accused him of grabbing her and kissing her cheek against her will at a 2019 wedding.
After Bennett came forward, Cuomo issued a statement apologizing for comments he called “jokes,” but admitted could have been construed as “unwanted flirtation.”
Cuomo also is under fire for hiding for months the true number of nursing home residents killed by the coronavirus from lawmakers and the public because of a federal problem, and policies critics claim contributed to the death tally. Cuomo and state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker defended their actions.