Rep. Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican and a staunch supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, said Thursday he was entering the 2022 race for New York governor, hoping to become the challenger of his party to take on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. .
“The bottom line is this: To save New York, Andrew Cuomo must go,” Zeldin, a staunch conservative who represents parts of Long Island, said in a press release.
Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, is in the midst of the biggest crisis of his political life, facing investigations and charges of sexual harassment. Many Democratic leaders in the state have called on Mr. Cuomo to step down, and whether he will finally be re-elected next year is an open question.
But any Republican, especially a Republican closely linked to Mr. Trump, would face an extremely difficult battle across New York state. Republicans have not won a statewide election since 2002, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.
Mr. Zeldin’s candidacy is a testament to Mr. Cuomo’s perceived vulnerability: Republican gubernatorial candidates in New York tend to have less political stature, given the challenges of competing across the board. ‘State.
The congressman, who has something of a national profile in Republican circles, previewed on Thursday how he would seek to position himself in a strongly Democratic state.
“With a one-party Democratic regime in New York and Albany, the light that once shone as a beacon of what America can be has gone out,” he said.
“The New York City that was once a magnet for the best and brightest in the world is now forcing its own to leave under the crushing weight of soaring taxes, lost jobs, stifling regulations and rising crime resulting from dangerously policy. liberal.
In his campaign announcement video, Mr. Zeldin made no mention of Mr. Trump, instead seeking to keep his message focused on quality of life issues and economics and on Mr. Cuomo.
But there is no doubt how much he embraced Mr. Trump and his policies, including voting to overturn the November election results. It’s a political context that can be important in a Republican primary, but one that would be instantly disqualifying in the eyes of many New Yorkers in a general election, if it reached that point.
“He is a member of Congress, a soldier and a father, who fights to protect our wallets, our security and our freedoms,” the video reads.
Mr Zeldin will be one of at least three declared or potential Republican candidates interested in running for governor who will run in Albany, New York, on April 19 to meet with Republican county presidents to lobby for their support.
Others include Rob Astorino, the party’s 2014 gubernatorial candidate, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.
Mr. Zeldin made his first announcement on Fox News.