(The Center Square) – New York U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin announced Thursday morning he is running for the Republican nomination to be the state’s next governor.
The announcement, which came via Twitter, comes about a month after he announced setting up an exploratory committee. The Shirley native has been serving in Congress since 2015, where he’s been representing New York’s first district, which covers the eastern half of Long Island.
“I’m ready to go all in on this mission and bring New York back from the brink and return it to glory,” Zeldin tweeted from his personal account. “For many, this feels like a last stand to save our state.”
Zeldin began formally considering a run as the state and federal government started a number of investigations into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Federal investigators are looking into allegations Cuomo’s administration underreported COVID-19 fatalities attributable to nursing homes. State Attorney General Letitia James has appointed an outside law firm to investigate claims Cuomo has sexually harassed several women, including some who work for the state.
Meanwhile, the state Assembly Judiciary Committee has launched an inquiry that could lead to the three-term governor’s impeachment.
Numerous lawmakers, both in Albany and Washington, have also called for the governor to resign because of the allegations.
This week, Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers reached an agreement on a $212 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. That spending plan includes large tax increases for the state’s top earners. Republicans have said the high taxes will lead to more people choosing to leave the state.
“With 1-party Dem rule in NYC & Albany, the light that was a beacon of what America can be has gone dark,” Zeldin tweeted. “The NY once a magnet for the world’s best & brightest is now forcing its own to leave under the weight of crushing taxes, lost jobs, suffocating regulations, & rising crime.”
Around the same time that Zeldin said he was interested in running, another New York congressman, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, made a similar announcement. However, Reed’s effort was short-lived as it was reported not long after his announcement that he inappropriately touched a woman at a Minnesota bar four years ago.
Reed has since not only backed away from the governor’s race but said he would not seek re-election to his congressional seat next year, staying true to his pledge not to serve more than 12 years in the seat.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was also mulling a run for the GOP nomination as well.
While Cuomo’s popularity numbers have taken a hit in recent weeks due to the mounting allegations, he still remains on the north end of 50% in the latest Morning Consult poll. As of March 24, he’s has a 53% approval rating, compared to a 43% disapproval. Among Democrats, he’s at 75%.