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Reed continues to eye governor’s mansion; timeline is ‘sooner rather than later’

Rep. Tom Reed
Rep. Tom Reed

Southern Tier Rep. Tom Reed is continuing to entertain the possibility that he’ll run for governor in 2022.

The Corning Republican, whose district stretches across western New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier, told reporters Wednesday he is monitoring the field of potential candidates and is still gathering input and support.

“We’re in that process,” Reed said. “Gaining that additional input from stakeholders, but we are going to continue to do that and we’re probably going to do that much more publicly as we go forward because we want to make sure people know who we are, what we stand for.”

Later in the day, Axios reported that Reed is beginning to hire campaign staff.

Reed, formerly the mayor of Corning before being elected to Congress in 2011, first started making public his potential gubernatorial aspirations in an interview with The Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski in late 2019. Since then, he’s continued to raise his profile as a sparring partner with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, criticizing the Democrat for certain aspects of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other state policies.

With Cuomo facing calls for resignation, a federal inquiry into his withholding of nursing home data, and a special state investigation into sexual harassment allegations, Republicans are seeing a potential shakeup at the governor’s mansion as an opportunity. Reed said he expects Cuomo to run again if he’s not impeached. While that may play into other potential contenders’ calculus, it’s not in his. 

“I’m seriously looking at this race regardless if Andrew Cuomo is the candidate or not,” Reed said. “That is not a deal-breaker, if you would. I know some folks are looking at him and trying to figure out if it’s going to be Andrew Cuomo or not, and that’s going to be a determining factor whether or not they run to win, so to speak.”

Other Republicans, including Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin and Dutchess County Executive and 2018 GOP candidate Mark Molinaro are also considering bids.

Reed also told reporters Wednesday that if he declared candidacy for governor, he would not seek reelection to Congress though he could run on both tickets simultaneously.

“I just don’t subscribe to that,” Reed said. “I think that’s not appropriate and so I will be very clear that if we make the decision to run for governor, we will be seeking that office 100%, and we will not be seeking reelection to our federal office.”

While official figures from the 2020 census won’t be available until later this year, New York is poised to lose one or two seats in Congress due to population loss. It’s unclear how this may change the current 23rd District, and as a result, Reed’s electoral prospects.