New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik didn’t rule out on Tuesday launching a big for governor as Andrew Cuomo faces an increasing numbers of scandals – including a third woman now accusing him of sexual harassment.
‘I’m focused on running for the House,’ Stefanik, who plans to run for reelection for a third term, told ‘Ruthless Podcast’ host Josh Holmes in a Tuesday interview, adding later: ‘A lot can change.’
‘Well you’d be a heck of a candidate. And I imagine New York Republicans would lay in traffic to get you to consider that race. But what I didn’t hear there is an absolute ‘no!” Holmes pushed.
‘I think we’ll wait,’ the representative continued. ‘We’ll have to wait to see how the dynamics play out.’
Stefanik is a pro-Trump Republican representing New York’s 21st district, which encompasses the Northeastern-most part of the state – a mostly red area with some blue leaning parts toward the border with Vermont.
Pro-Trump Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York wouldn’t rule out Tuesday potentially running for governor of her state. ‘I’m focused on running for the House,’ she said. ‘We’ll have to wait to see how the dynamics play out’
Her comments come as embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces dueling scandals involving women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault and investigations finding he may have intentionally misled the public on the number of COVID nursing home deaths
It’s highly unlikely that New York, one of the most staunchly and solidly blue states, would elect a Republican governor. Evidence of that is how there has only been one GOP governor elected in New York since 1974.
Embattled Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to face calls for resignation – including from Stefanik – in the midst of two concurring scandals involving sexual harassment and assault allegatiosn against him and investigators finding he may have intentionally lied about the number of COVID-related deaths in New York nursing homes.
Stefanik said that if Cuomo continues to tarnish the governorship with these scandals, it could pave the way for a Republican to be elected to his position – but she still skirted the question on whether that candidate could be her.
‘This governor should resign,’ Stefanik said during her podcast appearance on Tuesday. ‘If he does not resign, there is a path for a Republican to win statewide in New York, and I’m calling for him to resign. So I want to see that happen.’
She added: ‘I mean, a year ago or only a couple of months ago, Governor Cuomo was hailed, inaccurately, by national Democrats as really the icon. Even President Biden talked about, quote unquote, Cuomo’s strong leadership, really the best of the best. And now we know the White House is showing distance significantly between Cuomo and obviously the Biden administration.’
Cuomo assumed office in January 2011 at the end of this term will have served three consecutive terms. He announced in May 2019 that he would seek a fourth term as governor of New York in 2022.
Since his scandals, Cuomo, who is also chairman of the National Governors Association, has not said anything about his future in politics.
There are no term limits for New York’s governor.
Stefanki says she still plans to run for reelection to her House seat in 2020 for another term – but wouldn’t explicit rule out taking on Cuomo next year.
‘I’m focused on running for reelection for the House,’ she asserted Tuesday. ‘I’m focused on raising money for women candidates. A lot of people call us every day encouraging us to consider it. And I am involved with down ballot races at the local level across New York State, because I think that’s important.’
In a Monday New York Times report, a third accuser came forward alleging sexual assault allegations against Cuomo.
Anna Ruch, now 33, told the Times that she met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019.
The governor, now 63, had given a toast to the newlyweds, and Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, thanked him for his words.
She claimed that he then touched her naked back, and she removed his hand.
He said she was ‘aggressive’, then cupped her face in his hands and asked: ‘Can I kiss you?’
A photographer captured the moment, with Ruch looking distressed and taken aback, while Cuomo stared intently at her.
A third woman came forward Monday evening accusing Cuomo of inappropriate behavior. Anna Ruch’s moment was captured on camera when Cuomo push his hands on her face at a wedding in 2019 and Ruch says he asked if he could kiss her
Two other women, Lindsay Boylan(left) and Charlotte Bennet (right) – both former Cuomo aides, have already levied allegations against the New York governor
‘I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,’ said Ruch. ‘I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.’
She told the Times: ‘It’s the act of impunity that strikes me. I didn’t have a choice in that matter. I didn’t have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment. And that’s what infuriates me.’
Her revelations come after former Cuomo aide Lindsay Boylan, now 36, said in tweets in December that Cuomo ‘abused his power’ and sexually harassed her for years. She made more accusations last Wednesday where she claimed the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Charlotte Bennett, who is 25 and also a former Cuomo aide, told the Times in an article published Saturday, that the governor told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June.
Several prominent New York Democrats have called for an investigation into the Cuomo allegations – and some have even joined Republicans in calling on the governor to resign.
These individuals include U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and State Assemblyman Carl Heastie turned their backs on Cuomo and called for a ‘truly independent probe’.
Rice, who represents Long Island, said following the third accuser coming forward that it was time for Cuomo to go.
If Cuomo were to resign before his term were up, Hochul, who formerly served in Congress, would take over and finish out his term.