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Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean is mostly sunny on TV — unless your name is Andrew Cuomo.
She’s become known as a fearless critic of the New York governor — and a growing number of Republicans in the state are chattering about the possibility the weather woman could credibly challenge the Democratic pitbull should he seek a fourth term in 2022.
Her former Fox News colleague Megyn Kelly said Dean is a fighter who has survived home invasion, sexual harassment, multiple sclerosis and the death of both in-laws from COVID.
“Unlike the poser currently in the governor’s mansion, she really IS ‘New York tough,’ whip smart, and we can trust her. She’s got my vote,” Kelly told The Post.
Though not generally known as one of the cable network’s fiery opinions hosts, Dean, 50, became a single-issue tornado after her in-laws died from coronavirus while living in New York nursing homes last year.
Dean places the blame squarely on Cuomo’s now-infamous mandate forcing nursing homes to accept patients who’d tested positive for the deadly virus. A total of 6,326 COVID-positive seniors were moved into nursing facilities between March and May 2020, according to a report from the state Department of Health. The elderly were among the most vulnerable populations.
More than 8,500 seniors are believed to have died as a result of coronavirus, according to official numbers from state health officials.
Dean regularly tears into the governor online, where she has tweeted out the name “Killer Cuomo”
“I challenge @NYGovCuomo to a town hall with the grieving families who’d like to ask a few questions. Let’s see who’s #newyorktough,” she said Thursday.
In response to the criticism, Cuomo flunky Rich Azzopardi told Dean’s sister-in-law to “get a life and a clue” and dismissed the meteorologist to the Daily Mail as “not a credible source on anything except maybe the weather.”
On Thursday, Dean addressed a group of GOP activists and donors alongside state Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy in a Zoom call that sounded more like a stump speech, with Dean hurling anti-Cuomo red meat before a hungry audience.
“It looks like the guy just wants to be a celebrity. He doesn’t want to be a governor. He wants to hang out with his buddies Bobby De Niro [and] Billy Crystal,” she said. “Governor, if you want to be a celebrity by all means. Go to Hollywood and let somebody else take over.”
The most pressing question of the Q&A portion of the call was her own political ambitions — and she left the door distinctly ajar.
“I am still with Fox for now by contract agreement. But listen, you never say never in this life, right? And many people have gotten into government because something personal has happened to them,” she said.
Dean has already gotten her toes wet in the Albany swamp working on bipartisan legislation with state Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) and Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) for an independent investigation into nursing-home deaths.
GOP leaders have taken notice.
“I told her months ago that she would make an excellent candidate for public office,” Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli told The Post. “I would be enthralled to support her in whatever ambition she has because she is a genuinely good human being.”
Langworthy said, “Someone like Janice Dean would be an absolute nightmare for Andrew Cuomo. She’s intelligent, accomplished, has a national profile and she’s fearless. We will be conducting a widespread search to select the best candidate to take him on and Janice would unquestionably be a welcome addition.”
In a statement to The Post, Dean said she was happy where she was — for now.
“I was beyond flattered and a bit surprised when Chairman Langworthy brought up a possible run for Governor someday. While I am not afraid of Mr. Cuomo and would love the chance to challenge his deadly policies that helped kill thousands of seniors, for now I am grateful for my job at FOX News as their senior meteorologist,” she said.
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