In the wake of the series of scandals that has enveloped Gov. Andrew Cuomo, several members of each major party have been mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates in 2022. On the Democratic side, Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY14), and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have been mentioned as possible candidates for governor. Amongst Republicans, rumors have focused on Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), and Tom Reed (R-NY23), Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
In recent months, Rep. Reed publicly hinted at his interest in running for governor. However, the Congressman later abandoned his gubernatorial hopes due to a scandal of his own.
On March 19, 2021, The Washington Post reported that a lobbyist had accused Rep. Reed—a married father of two—of sexual misconduct. Rep. Reed’s accuser, Nicolette Davis, asserted that Rep. Reed subjected her to unwanted sexual touching at a group outing at a bar in Minneapolis in 2017. When Davis asked for help from the person sitting beside her, that person escorted an intoxicated Rep. Reed from the restaurant.
While Rep. Reed initially challenged the accuracy of the allegations, he later issued an apology. Rep. Reed—who had publicly upbraided Gov. Cuomo for having allegedly engaged in sexual harassment—added that he would not seek political office next year.
Bob Carr, a marketing and crisis communications consultant, told the Buffalo News that Reed’s candor impressed him as “increasingly rare for people in the public eye who feed the crisis fire through denial and stonewalling.”
“Reed’s forthright and thoughtful response claiming total responsibility … showed empathy and respect for his accuser/victim without reservation, shared his struggles with alcohol but not as an excuse, and provided his future actions of not seeking re-election and working to help people who suffer from addictions,” Carr said. “A very timely, open and transparent response that can hopefully guide others in positions like his in the future.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is deeply disappointed in Rep. Reed’s conduct. Nevertheless, we appreciate his willingness to take responsibility for his actions. No one, regardless of title or position, is entitled to subject others to sexual misconduct of any kind.