Rep. Lee Zeldin on Friday revealed he was diagnosed nearly a year ago with leukemia. It's now in remission, and the diagnosis hasn't disrupted his ability to serve in Congress or run for governor, he told reporters on Monday outside of Albany.
But at the same time, Zeldin said he received well wishes in the last several days from Republicans and Democrats alike, including Eric Adams, the Democratic New York City mayoral nominee.
"I'm very grateful of their concern and outreach," Zeldin said. "Ultimately, any of their energy that anyone feels with regard to what I went through should be channeled into providing power to folks who are getting very different news than I got and need to share in that health and that strength."
Zeldin for the first time disclosed his diagnosis at an Ontario County Republican event on Friday, doing so in recognition of the illness facing the county committee’s chairwoman.
"It impacts us in a way that really transcends politics or partisanship. People are going through an intense struggle," he said.
Zeldin, a Long Island congressman, is considered the leading Republican candidate for Congress. He's received the bulk of the endorsements from county party leaders, and was bestowed preferred candidate status by Chairman Nick Langworthy this summer following the results of a staw poll.
On Monday, Republican members of the state Assembly Joe Angelino, Keith Brown, Michael Fitzpatrick, Steve Hawley, Josh Jensen, John Lemondes, Michael Reilly, Matt Simpson, Robert Smullen and Mark Walcyzk endorsed his candidacy.
Zeldin first launched his bid for governor earlier this year. He didn't reveal the diagnosis at the time considering it didn't have an impact on his job, in part, because it was caught so early.
"It had zero impact at any point," he said. "I was getting my blood tested every single week and every blood test was better each week."