ALBANY, N.Y. — In less than two weeks, at least three potential Republican candidates interested in possibly challenging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo next year will convene in the state capital to lobby many of the party’s county chairs for their support.
All three are known to New York voters: Representative Lee Zeldin of Long Island is one of the state’s staunchest conservative leaders, and was an ardent supporter of former President Donald J. Trump; Rob Astorino was the party’s 2014 nominee for governor.
The third is also known, but is far less of a known quantity: Andrew Giuliani.
In a brief interview on Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani, 35, confirmed that he was “strongly considering” a run, adding that he planned to make a firm decision “by the end of the month.” State Republican officials confirmed that Mr. Giuliani would be attending the Republican county leaders’ meeting in Albany.
Mr. Giuliani would face a steep climb. He has never been elected to public office, and his most prominent government job was as a public liaison assistant and special assistant to the president for the Trump White House.
His main selling point would likely be his connection to Mr. Trump and to his father, the former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose reputation in New York and beyond has greatly suffered in recent years.
The elder Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, was a central player in a failed legal effort by the former president to overturn the 2020 election. He now faces a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, which has accused him of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign” to suggest that Dominion, one of the biggest voting machine manufacturers in the country, plotted to flip votes to President Biden.
The Giuliani connection to Trump could prove poisonous in New York, where Mr. Trump’s popularity is in the low 30s, where Republicans haven’t won a statewide election since 2002, and where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.
Still, Mr. Giuliani and other potential Republican candidates have had their hopes buoyed by Mr. Cuomo’s swarm of recent scandals, including multiple accusations of sexual harassment against the governor, as well as a federal investigation into his handling of the state’s nursing homes.
The sexual harassment allegations made by current and former employees of Mr. Cuomo, as well as accounts by a series of other women who have described uncomfortable interactions with the governor, have led most of the state’s Democratic leaders to call for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation.
The allegations against Mr. Cuomo, 63, are also the subject of a pair of investigations, including one overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James, and a second authorized by the State Assembly.
The combination of the controversies has resulted in double-digit declines in Mr. Cuomo’s approval ratings in several polls, with support for a fourth term seeming particularly precarious.
Mr. Giuliani’s possible interest in the state’s highest office was first reported by The Washington Examiner.
The prospect of a Giuliani vs. Cuomo matchup would likely tantalize New York and national political observers, considering the current relationship between Rudolph Giuliani and Mr. Trump, who often sparred with Mr. Cuomo last year during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Adding to the intrigue is the decades-long connections between the elder Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat whose father, Mario M. Cuomo, was governor for 12 years.
When Rudolph Giuliani was elected mayor in 1993, the elder Mr. Cuomo was still governor, and he spoke hopefully of Mr. Giuliani’s ability to help him find compromise with Republicans, who ruled the Senate in Albany.
A year later, Mr. Giuliani suffered a humiliating defeat after he endorsed Mario Cuomo’s unsuccessful campaign against fellow Republican George Pataki in the 1994 governor’s race.
Susan Beachy contributed research.
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