ALBANY, NY – In less than two weeks, at least three potential Republican candidates interested in possibly challenging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo next year will meet in the state capital to lobby many of the party’s county presidents for their support.
All three are known to New York voters: Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island is one of the state’s most staunch conservative leaders and was a staunch supporter of former President Donald J. Trump; Rob Astorino was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014.
The third is also known, but is much less known: Andrew Giuliani.
In a brief interview on Wednesday, Mr Giuliani, 35, confirmed he was “strongly considering” a race, adding that he planned to make a firm decision “by the end of the month.” Republican state officials have confirmed Mr. Giuliani will attend the Republican County Chiefs meeting in Albany.
Mr. Giuliani would face a steep climb. He was never elected to public office, and his most prominent position in government was as Public Liaison Assistant and Special Assistant to the President of the Trump White House.
His main selling point would likely be his connection to Mr Trump and his father, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose reputation in New York and beyond has suffered greatly in recent years.
The eldest, Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, was a central player in the former president’s failed legal effort to overturn the 2020 election. He now faces a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, which accused him of waging a “viral disinformation campaign” to suggest that Dominion, one of the nation’s largest voting machine makers, plotted to return the votes to President Biden.
Giuliani’s connection to Trump could prove toxic in New York City, where Mr. Trump’s popularity is in his 30s, where Republicans have not won statewide elections since 2002, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.
Yet Mr Giuliani and other potential Republican candidates have had their hopes bolstered by the swarm of recent Mr Cuomo scandals, including multiple accusations of sexual harassment against the governor, as well as a federal investigation into his handling. state retirement homes.
Allegations of sexual harassment made by current and former Mr. Cuomo employees, along with accounts from a series of other women who have described uncomfortable interactions with the governor, have led most of the state’s Democratic leadership to call for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation.
The allegations against Mr Cuomo, 63, are also the subject of two investigations, including one overseen by state attorney general Letitia James and a second authorized by the state assembly.
The combination of controversies has resulted in double-digit drops in Mr. Cuomo’s approval ratings in several polls, with support for a fourth term looking particularly shaky.
Mr. Giuliani’s possible interest in the highest office of state was first reported by the Washington Examiner.
The prospect of a Giuliani vs. Cuomo clash was likely to woo New York and domestic political watchers, given the current relationship between Rudolph Giuliani and Mr. Trump, who had a frequent argument with Mr. Cuomo last year at the start. of the coronavirus pandemic.
Adding to the intrigue are decades of ties between the elder Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat whose father, Mario M. Cuomo, served as governor for 12 years.
When Rudolph Giuliani was elected mayor in 1993, the eldest Mr. Cuomo was still governor, and he spoke with luck about Mr. Giuliani’s ability to help him find a compromise with the Republicans, who were in charge. the Senate in Albany.
A year later, Mr Giuliani suffered a humiliating defeat after endorsing Mario Cuomo’s unsuccessful campaign against fellow Republican George Pataki in the 1994 governor’s race.
Susan Beachy contributed to the research.