Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has made his run for New York State governor official.
The four-term Republican from Shirley announced his decision on Fox News Thursday. The network also first reported that Mr. Zeldin was exploring a run more than a month ago.
“After talking to New Yorkers who feel like this is a last stand, the last great opportunity to save New York, and the fact that to save our state, Andrew Cuomo has got to go, I’m announcing here this morning on your show that I’m running for governor of New York in 2022,” Mr. Zeldin said during his appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “We are going to win this race.”
Mr. Zeldin, a political ally of President Donald Trump in recent years, named taxes and public safety concerns as key reasons for his run, while also bringing up the governor’s recent nursing home and sexual harassment controversies.
This is not Mr. Zeldin’s first foray into state politics. He served two terms in the New York State Senate beginning in 2010 before defeating Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in his second bid for Congress in 2014.
Mr. Zeldin has the backing of both the Suffolk and Nassau county Republican chairs and he has said he’s spoken with party chairs from across the state. It is still likely others will pursue the Republican nomination, but if Zeldin were to become the official nominee, he would be leaving his seat in Congress.
“I’m all in,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
The last Republican elected to statewide office in New York was former Gov. George Pataki in 2002. Mr. Zeldin said Thursday that he believes New York is paying the price of one-party rule with Mr. Cuomo in office and Democrats controlling both houses of the State Legislature. He also pointed to the Democrats’ stronghold in New York City as a problem for New Yorkers.
Mr. Zeldin is currently one of eight New York Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district, spanning the East End and Brookhaven Town, has been relatively fluid between parties, with Republicans holding the seat for 12 of the past 34 years. In his last bid for re-election in November, Mr. Zeldin won with nearly 55% of the vote.