WASHINGTON — Rep. Lee Zeldin announced Thursday that he is running for governor of New York in 2022, becoming the first high-profile Republican to launch a challenge to embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Zeldin, 41, who has represented eastern Long Island since 2015, shared his decision on Fox News and posted it on Twitter, saying that to save his state, “#CuomosGottaGo!”
“I'll bring the kind of relentless, fighting spirit towards helping to save our state that Cuomo reserves for multi-million dollar self-congratulatory book deals, cover-ups, abuse & self-dealing,” Zeldin tweeted.
“With 1-party Dem rule in NYC & Albany, the light that was a beacon of what America can be has gone dark,” continued Zeldin, who said that Cuomo is “at the helm of NY’s downfall.”
Top Democratic lawmakers called for Cuomo to resign last month after several women accused the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Cuomo welcomed an investigation into their claims and has repeatedly said he never inappropriately touched anyone and will not step down.
The sexual harassment allegations are under investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office is investigating and the state Assembly.
Zeldin also criticized Cuomo for his administration's handling of data about Covid-19 nursing home deaths, saying his “deadly nursing home order & cover-up is part of a long line of scandals, lies, & harassment. Cuomo has abused the power & trust granted to him & it's time for him to immediately exit stage left.”
In February, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn and the FBI began a preliminary investigation into the way Cuomo’s administration reported information about those deaths.
Zeldin’s announcement comes a day after Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said he is considering a run for governor as a Republican.
A number of Democrats have also been eyeing gubernatorial bids in light of allegations against Cuomo; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example, recently refused to rule out a run.