Rep. Lee Zeldin announces Cuomo challenge for New York's 2022 governor's race
- A Long Island congressman announced on Thursday that he plans to run for NY governor in 2022.
- Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin tweeted that he'll take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "abuse & self dealing."
- Zeldin would be the Empire State's second Republican governor in over 45 years.
Lee Zeldin, a Republican Congressman from Long Island, announced on Thursday that he plans to challenge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2022.
Cuomo would be seeking a fourth term, and has deflected questions of whether he would decline to run for reelection amid multiple ongoing scandals.Known for defending Donald Trump no matter the circumstances, Zeldin made his announcement on Fox News.
-Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) April 8, 2021The congressman also tweeted his desire to run for governor in 2022, decrying Cuomo's "multi-million dollar self-congratulatory book deals, cover-ups, abuse & self-dealing."
Aside from the 10 women who have accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct - ranging from verbal harassment to groping - the governor is also facing a months-long impeachment investigation, an investigation from New York Attorney General Tish James into the sexual harassment allegations, and a federal investigation into his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign, despite calls from most of New York's congressional delegation for him to step down.
So far, the only other Republican fueling speculation of a potential gubernatorial run is Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump staffer and the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.Cuomo is still sitting on a more than $16 million campaign war chest, giving him a significant advantage in compiling campaign resources as potential challengers weigh their options.There have been rumors of a potential primary challenge to Cuomo from someone in the Democratic Party, but nothing has materialized so far. The last two times Cuomo ran, he handily defeated primary challengers Zephyr Teachout in 2014 and Cynthia Nixon in 2018.
Statewide elections in New York have proven tricky for Republicans ever since former GOP Gov. George Pataki declined to run for a fourth term in 2002 .
The biggest political divide is between the highly populated New York City metropolitan area and the less populous Upstate region. Zeldin hails from Suffolk County on Long Island, which tends to be a relative Republican stronghold.Zeldin, 41, holds both a bachelor's and law degree from the State University of New York, Albany. Before running for Congress in 2014, he served in the New York State Senate from 2011 to 2014.
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