Rep. Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican and a staunch supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, said Thursday he was entering the 2022 race for New York governor, hoping to become the challenger of his party to take on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. .
“The bottom line is this: To save New York, Andrew Cuomo must go,” Zeldin, a staunch conservative who represents parts of Long Island, said in a press release.
Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, is in the midst of the biggest crisis of his political life, facing investigations and charges of sexual harassment. Many Democratic leaders in the state have called on Mr. Cuomo to step down, and whether he will finally be re-elected next year is an open question.
But any Republican, especially a Republican closely linked to Mr. Trump, would have an uphill battle across New York state. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since 2002, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.
Mr Zeldin’s comments on Thursday provided a glimpse of how he would seek to position himself in a strongly Democratic state.
“With a one-party Democratic regime in New York and Albany, the light that once shone as a beacon of what America can be has gone out,” he said.
“The New York City that was once a magnet for the best and brightest in the world is now forcing its own to leave under the crushing weight of soaring taxes, lost jobs, stifling regulations and growing crime resulting from dangerously liberal policies.
Mr. Zeldin will be one of at least three declared or potential Republican candidates interested in running for governor who will run in Albany, New York on April 19 to meet with Republican county presidents to make pressure for their support.
Others include Rob Astorino, the party’s 2014 gubernatorial candidate, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.