Republican Governor hopeful Andrew Giuliani has torn rival Lee Zeldin as a clone of a disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo after accusing the Zeldin camp of leading an effort to have him eliminated from the primary ballot.
Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who served as White House aide to former President Donald Trump, filed 24,579 signatures to qualify for voting status.
Fifteen thousand valid signatures of registered Republicans are needed to earn a place on the ballot.
But specific objections were filed Thursday with the state Board of Elections against at least 8,776 signatures collected by Giuliani.
“I know Lee Zeldin thought Andrew Cuomo would be a good president. Now he’s playing Cuomo’s game on the Board of Elections,” Giuliani said Thursday night. “Lee Zeldin loves Andrew Cuomo. Now he acts like him.
Giuliani was referring to a glowing comment Zeldin made about Cuomo – captured on videotape – when Zeldin was a state senator in 2011.
“I would honestly say that if you were in the White House right now, our nation would be in a better place today than it is,” Zeldin said of Cuomo at a press conference.
Cuomo became the bogeyman of the GOP after the three-term Democratic governor resigned under threat of impeachment last August following an investigative report by the state attorney general corroborating accusations that he allegedly harassed or abused several women.
Meanwhile, Giuliani also claimed that John Haggerty, a GOP operative who was convicted of stealing $750,000 of Mike Bloomberg’s money during Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign, is helping Zeldin.
“These actions render Zeldin unqualified to be governor,” Giuliani fumed.
General objections have also been filed against two other candidates for the GOP nomination – former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the 2014 GOP nominee for governor and businessman Harry Wilson, the nominee 2010 Republican as state comptroller.
This indicates that specific challenges can also be filed against their claims.
Wilson collected 36,000 signatures and Astorino more than 20,000.
The state’s Republican Party nominated Zeldin, a congressman from Long Island, as its presumptive representative and so he did not have to collect voter signatures to appear on the ballot.
Like Giuliani, Astorino and Wilson said Zeldin was trying to stifle competition.
“We don’t do coronations in New York. Nearly 90,000 rank-and-file Republicans have signed petitions for other candidates. [email protected] to try to disqualify his voice using political/legal threats is a Cuomo-style gutter tactic. No surprise considering Lee served 4 years in Albany as Cuomo’s best ally,” Astorino said in a published statement on Twitter.
Wilson tweeted“@leezeldin is telling 80,000 New York Republicans demanding a primary that 300 insiders who chose him know best. We knew this was coming. Why is Lee so scared of a primary? Because he is “the most widely rejected nominee” in NY GOP history.
The Zeldin campaign declined requests for comment.
The leadership of the state’s Republican Party, which supports Zeldin, said it filed no objections against the other candidates and referred the Post to Zeldin’s campaign.
Recent polls show Zeldin in the lead.
The winner will face the Democratic candidate. Seated Gov. Kathy Hochul is seen as the frontrunner in the polls as she takes on city public attorney Jumaane Wiliams and Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi in the Democratic primary.
New York Post