CORNING — Congressman Tom Reed often has dropped hints during his weekly phone calls with reporters that a run for governor in 2022 might be in his future.
However, late last week, the Corning Republican didn’t dance around the issue a whole lot, telling Fox News that he’s “definitely looking” at running against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year. Cuomo, if he chooses to run, would be vying for his fourth term.
“People across the district, across the state, are saying, ‘You need to take a look at this,’” Reed told the conservative news outlet. “I’m humbled by that, but I’m also energized by it. Given an opportunity to do my part to serve and try to change the direction of the state, we are definitely looking at it.”
Reed, who represents the 23rd District in the House, has made no bones about his distaste for Cuomo’s brusk style, chronicled Monday in a not-so-flattering story in The New York Times, in which a number of former colleagues recalled being bullied by the governor. The most recent example comes from a Democratic member of the state Assembly, Ron Kim of Queens, who Cuomo allegedly demanded walk back negative comments made about the administration’s alleged coverup of the number of people who died from COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes. Cuomo, Kim claimed, threatened to “destroy” him if he didn’t do so.
“Gov. Cuomo needs to be taken down,” Reed said on “Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla,” and “the days of Gov. Cuomo are numbered, and they need to be, because New York state, not only on the nursing home deaths, but the future of New York, it doesn’t have much more window to get its fiscal house in order.”
The “days are numbered” remark was one repeated in Reed’s weekly conference call with reporters earlier this month in response to remarks Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi made about Reed. He said Reed was “a QAnon Trump supporter” and that investigators should be asking him and “the rest of the Trump enablers” what they knew about planning for the Capitol insurrection they helped foment Jan. 6.
When read the quote from Azzopardi by a reporter on the call, it was clear Reed was infuriated. He paused before giving his response.
“Disgusting,” he said. “Disgusting. It’s a complete lack of leadership, and I would expect no different from Gov. Cuomo to engage in such despicable rhetoric. He should be ashamed of himself.”
That’s when he said Cuomo’s “days are numbered.”
Reed acknowledged to Fox that beating the well-funded Cuomo is “going to be a herculean task. Gov. Cuomo’s going to have tens of millions of dollars. He’s already got $17 million in the bank.”
Then there are the numbers. Democrats hold a 2-1 enrollment margin statewide, and New York hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office since 2002.
Reed is not the only Republican considering a run against Cuomo. House members Lee Zeldin and Elise Stefanik also are seen as potential GOP candidates.