Republicans are trying to recruit U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), the congressman who represents the East End, to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for re-election next year.
Katie Vincentz, Zeldin’s spokeswoman, confirmed reports that the congressman is being wooed for a gubernatorial run, but stopped short of saying if he plans to officially throw his hat in the ring.
“He’s had a lot of passionate outreach recently from New Yorkers who are basically saying, ‘If you don’t run and you don’t win, I’m leaving,’” she said. “The one thing he knows for sure on this is that he’s going to do everything he can to make sure Andrew Cuomo doesn’t get a 4th term.”
Zeldin is one of several Republican congressmen being considered for a run, New York State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said. If he ran, he would forfeit his congressional seat, creating a vacancy that would guarantee New York’s First Congressional District gets a new representative in 2023.
“We are delighted that Congressman Zeldin is among those considering the race,” said Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for Langworthy. “He would make an excellent candidate.”
Zeldin, a former New York State senator, has urged state lawmakers to revoke the governor’s emergency powers granted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic after it was recently revealed that Cuomo’s office underreported the statewide nursing home death toll.
State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs recently called for Zeldin to resign after the congressman voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral college win hours after former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in a deadly riot on January 6.
The congressman previously made national headlines when he became one of Trump’s top defenders during the former president’s first impeachment trial.
This story first appeared on DansPapers.com.