Rep. Lee Zeldin, a stubborn conservative from Long Island and a leading Republican candidate for the New York Governor’s election next year, said he was diagnosed with leukemia last year and is being treated.
Zeldin, 41, told attendees of the Republican Party in Ontario on Friday night that he has been working on the diagnosis of early-stage chronic myelogenous leukemia since November 2020. He confirmed in a text message to the New York Times on Saturday. He said he had cancer and then issued a statement.
“For the past nine months, I have been expected to achieve complete remission and lead a normal life. My doctor currently says there is no evidence of this disease in my system.” One of the former loudest supporters, Mr. Zeldin, said President Donald J. Trump. “My health is astounding and I’m still running at 110 percent.”
Zeldin mentioned his diagnosis, partly because Ontario County party chairman Trisha Turner was facing her own health crisis. Parliamentarian Brian Kolb said Mr Zeldin brought her roses and drew similarities between her struggle and his own struggle. Kolb recalled that Zeldin said he wanted to make sure he was in control of his illness before launching the campaign earlier this year.
In a statement, Zeldin said there were no side effects from the treatment, checking where he visited in the state and ignoring the question of whether the diagnosis would affect him in pursuing the governor.
“As a result of this diagnosis, I haven’t missed an Army reserve mission,” Zeldin said. He shared a statement from his hematologist, Dr. Jeffrey Vasaka, who said Zeldin is currently “no evidence of illness.”
Zeldin announced his candidate for governor in April with a view to dismissing Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat who was elected in 2010.
“This is the point. Andrew Cuomo must go to save New York,” Zeldin said when he declared his candidacy.
At that time, Mr. Cuomo was involved in a scandal after a series of sexual harassment complaints from former and current employees. By the time the report by Attorney General Letitia James was released in August, the number of whistleblowers had increased to 11.
Cuomo denied most of the accusations, even though James’ report confirmed the complaint. He resigned a week later, and his retirement changed the shape of the election.
Also running for governor as a Republican is Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Young Giuliani worked at the White House while Trump was there, and he presented himself as a sort of fusion of his father and former president.
However, Mr. Trump and the former mayor are not particularly popular in New York’s densest suburbs, where Democrats outnumber Republicans in registration.
Mr Zeldin has accumulated most of the institutional support among Republicans throughout the state, and in his statement he described himself as a “presumed” Republican candidate. In previous election cycles for the governor, the choice of facilities for Republican candidates was sometimes overwhelmed by grassroots candidates. That was the case in 2010 when Carl Paladino, a businessman in Western New York, easily defeated former Long Island congressman Rick Lazio with a vote of about 2: 1 at the Primary.
However, both Giuliani and Giuliani are operating as more state-specific versions of Trump, making such differentiation in the primary more difficult.