Mr. Zeldin’s decision to run for governor, which he first announced on Fox News, is expected to turn his district into an open-seat House race, pending redistricting decisions.
He will be one of at least three declared or potential Republican candidates interested in running for governor who will appear in Albany, N.Y., on April 19 to meet with Republican county chairs to lobby for their support.
Others include Rob Astorino, the party’s 2014 nominee for governor, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.
“He’s not a candidate that decided weeks ago to run, this was something that was thought out,” Councilman Joseph Borelli, a Staten Island Republican, said of Mr. Zeldin.
Mr. Borelli said that he would back Mr. Zeldin, but he spoke warmly of Mr. Giuliani, as well.
“The only thing that changed was, maybe a few months ago when he first thought about this, the hope was Andrew Cuomo wouldn’t be on the ballot,” he said of Mr. Zeldin. “Now the hope is that Democrats are saddled with the sandbag of Andrew Cuomo.”
For months, Mr. Cuomo’s Democratic rivals have been thinking about how to ensure that he is not their candidate, though he has indicated that he wants to run again.
Should he resign or not run for re-election, the New York attorney general, Letitia James, has been discussed as the most formidable potential contender, and some prominent Democrats believe she could effectively clear the field.
But a range of other names have been discussed as well. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would assume power if Mr. Cuomo is removed from office, is expected to run for a full term as governor next year, should that scenario unfold.