Rep. Lee Zeldin enters race for governor of New York

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin has made it official: he wants to be governor of New York.

"I'm running for governor in 2022 and we are going to win this race," the Long Island Republican said on Thursday. 

He is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and cited the Democratic governor's numerous scandals that are currently under investigation.

"He's been in there too long," Zeldin said. "It's time for him to go."

His announcement follows news that Andrew Giuliani, the son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is strongly considering a run for governor next year. Zeldin, a staunch Donald Trump supporter, said he believes the time is ripe for New Yorkers to elect a Republican.

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"Just this week, Albany passed what is the highest tax rate in the entire country," Zeldin said. "People are fleeing because of the high cost of living."

Zeldin is not well known throughout the state but then again neither was George Pataki when he unseated then-Gov. Mario Cuomo after his third term, ending Cuomo's political career.

Political analyst David Birdsell said the third-term governor is vulnerable just like his father was.

"The fourth term is really hard. You're old news," Birdsell said. "You've already been returned to office three times and it's a hard lift to get voters to support you for a fourth term."

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He said although Cuomo's reelection is highly unlikely, he does not expect New York to elect a Republican governor next year.

"If you look at Andrew Giuliani and you look at Lee Zeldin, you're looking at people who are very closely identified with Donald Trump," Birdsell said. "Donald Trump is not a popular figure in New York state."

In late 2020, Zeldin won reelection to a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents New York's First Congressional District, which covers a large portion of Suffolk County.