Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin announced his candidacy for governor of New York on Thursday with an attack on incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the subject of investigations over sexual harassment allegations and COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.
"The bottom line is this; to save New York, Andrew Cuomo's gotta go," Zeldin, a fourth-term Congress member from Long Island, said in a news release.
Zeldin, 41, promised to bring "the kind of relentless, fighting spirit towards helping to save our state that Andrew Cuomo only reserves for multi-million dollar self-congratulatory book deals, cover-ups, abuse and self-dealing."
Cuomo, who has not announced a run for a fourth term as governor in 2022, is facing allegations that he sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately toward several women. He has resisted calls for his resignation over the harassment claims and his administration's handling of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes during the height of the pandemic last year.
Other Republicans who have said they are considering seeking the Republican nomination for New York governor include Andrew Giuiliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a former aide in the Trump administration.
Zeldin, a loyal ally to former President Donald Trump during the Republican's time in office, did not mention Trump in his statement announcing his gubernatorial run.
Zeldin is an Army veteran who has represented New York's 1st congressional district since 2015. He served two terms in the state Senate before that.
"Throughout America's history, the State of New York has led the way forward for our great country. From George Washington leading the Continental Army from Manhattan to fight another day, to Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union speech, to the massive industrial advancements that made America the world's preeminent economic power, to the rebuilding of New York City after 9/11, the Empire State has been a beacon of hope, progress, and patriotism for 250 years.
"With one-party Democrat rule in NYC and Albany, the light that once shone as a beacon of what America can be has gone dark. The New York that was once a magnet for the world's best and brightest is now forcing its own to leave under the crushing weight of skyrocketing taxes, lost jobs, suffocating regulations, and rising crime resulting from dangerously liberal policies.
"At the helm of New York's downfall is Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose disgraceful and deadly nursing home order and cover-up is part of a long line of scandals, lies, and harassment. Cuomo has abused the power and trust granted to him and it is time for him to immediately exit stage left.
"I am ready to go all in on this mission and bring New York back from the brink and return it to glory.
"For many, this feels like a last stand to save our state. Losing is not an option."