(The Center Square) – Thanks in part to the recent scandals involving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a couple of U.S. House Republicans are moving toward a run for governor in 2022.
On Wednesday, Axios reported that U.S. Rep. Tom Reed has started forming a team to work on a gubernatorial campaign. Nothing is official just yet though, said the Southern Tier lawmaker who has been in office since November 2010.
"It's all about making sure when we go – if we go – we're 100% committed," Reed told Axios. "We have been talking to people that want to go along this journey with us if we go down this path."
That report came one day after U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin confirmed his interest in running for the office on Twitter. The Long Island representative in recent days has used the hashtag “CuomosGottaGo” on several messages on his personal account.
Regardless of who ends up with the nomination – and there will likely be additional candidates who will consider tossing their hat in the ring – Empire State Republicans now appear to be relishing the opportunity to go up against a damaged Cuomo.
“New Yorkers are fed up with Andrew Cuomo and his corrupt, toxic administration,” the state Republican Party posted on Twitter Wednesday. “We are going to work day and night until 2022 to ensure a Republican governor is elected who will usher in a new era of leadership in Albany.”
Once highly popular, Cuomo has become embroiled in two major scandals in the past month.
The first involves the administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. Questions abound about officials possibly putting residents and staff at greater risk due to those policies, and in addition, there are concerns officials tried to downplay the death toll by counting thousands of nursing home residents as hospital deaths.
Then, in the past week, a sexual harassment scandal has mushroomed. After Lindsey Boylan, a former aide, alleged on Medium that Cuomo planted an unwanted kiss on her lips, two other women have come public with details about their encounters with him.
Emerging after nine days away from the press, Cuomo on Wednesday apologized for his behavior but vowed not to resign. However, a poll conducted by Emerson College and WPIX-TV shows just how far his ratings have plummeted.
In a survey of 700 registered voters conducted on Monday and Tuesday, only 36 percent said they would give Cuomo a fourth term next year. Among Democrats, only 52 percent said they would vote for him. Just last week, but prior to the sexual harassment claims, a Morning Consult poll showed Cuomo had 57 percent approval, but even that was down six points from a poll taken just 10 days earlier.
In the Emerson poll, younger voters disapprove of him most, with just 22 percent of 18-34 year olds supporting the governor. However, he remains popular with the Black community, which gives him a 62 percent approval rating. Women, too, slightly support him with a 43-to-40 approval-to-disapproval ratio.
Emerson also asked voters if Cuomo should resign over the recent scandals. On the nursing home issue, 45 percent said yes to 36 percent saying no. It’s closer on the harassment claims with a 37 percent plurality saying he should and 34 percent saying no. In both questions, the remainder were either unsure or had no opinion.