Andrew Giuliani, the son of former President Trump's personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced on Tuesday that he is running for governor of New York. It could set up a battle with incumbent Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been in office since 2010.
"Like my parents before me, New York is in my blood," Giuliani said in a video announcing his campaign. "I've been raised through New York. I know who we are, what we can be and where we need to go."
In an interview with the New York Post published Tuesday morning, Giuliani said that his agenda will focus on supporting the business community, law enforcement and school-choice. He sharply criticized Cuomo's handling of COVID-19, including the governor's nursing home policy from the early days of the pandemic. He compared a potential matchup with Cuomo to the famous 1971 heavyweight title prize fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
"Giuliani vs. Cuomo. Holy smokes. It's Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier. We can sell tickets at Madison Square Garden," Giuliani said.
Giuliani volunteered on Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign. He joined the Trump administration in 2017 and was promoted to special assistant to the president two years later. Before working with Mr. Trump, Giuliani was a professional golfer and ran his own small business.
Rudy Giuliani was New York City's Republican mayor from 1994 - 2001. Federal investigators executed a search warrant on the elder Giuliani's New York home last month as part of an ongoing investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Andrew Giuliani told reporters that his father will play a role in the campaign.
"When you've got the greatest prosecutor in the history of the Southern District, when you've got the greatest mayor, not just in the history of New York, but in the history of America, you're foolish if you don't use him as an asset," Giuliani said, referring to his father.
Andrew Giuliani publicly floated a potential run in April when he told the Washington Examiner, "outside of anybody named Trump, I think I have the best chance to win and take the state back." He also told the New York Post that Mr. Trump "absolutely" encouraged him to run to bring attention to the GOP primary. The former president has not yet issued an endorsement.
Andrew Giuliani joins a field that already includes Congressman Lee Zeldin and longtime Westchester County executive Rob Astorino. Zeldin, who represents eastern Long Island, has already made six trips around the state and raised $2.5 million in the first 10 days of his candidacy. Zeldin has also received 62% of the weighted New York State Republican Party endorsements, which provides him with significant institutional backing and puts him in a strong position to be the GOP's preferred candidate. Zeldin was one of Mr. Trump's staunchest defenders.
New York has not elected a Republican governor since 2002 when George Pataki won his final term. At that time, 46.7% of registered New York voters were Democrats, while 27.9% were Republicans. As of February, Democrats account for 50.4% of registered voters, while 21.8% are Republicans.
Republicans are hoping that they can defeat a weakened Cuomo if he seeks a fourth term. Cuomo is facing investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, which he has repeatedly denied, and his handling of nursing home data. The New York attorney general also received a referral to investigate whether Cuomo used state resources to work on his book about leading New York through the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Cuomo's tax documents released on Tuesday, he is set to receive $5.1 million for his book.
A Siena College Research Institute poll in April found 33% of registered voters would re-elect Cuomo, while 57% of voters said they would prefer to vote for someone else. Zeldin and Giuliani's ties to Trump may be helpful in the GOP primary, but he remains deeply unpopular in New York. Sixty-four percent of registered voters had an unfavorable view of Mr. Trump in that poll, while 33% viewed him favorably. The former president was a New York resident until 2019, when he made Florida his official residence. There are ongoing civil and criminal investigations into the former president and his New York-based business.