Incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Lee Seldin also had a heated debate Tuesday night ahead of Gubernatorial Election Day. The tense meeting — a tight race based on polling data — included Hochul pressing Seldin on his views on Donald Trump. The former president is expected to divide voters in his home state.
Zeldin has long supported Trump, including his efforts to rig the 2020 election. Along with 147 House Republicans, he opposed certifying President Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021.
Zeldin attacked Hochul on crime, describing New York as “in crisis,” while blaming the policies he introduced — such as eliminating cash bail for nonviolent crimes and most misdemeanors.
The GOP candidate has bolstered his campaign by stressing the rise in violent crime, from shootings on the New York City subway to unprovoked attacks.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Oct. 18 says Hochul maintains a slim four-point edge over his opponent (50 to 46 percent) — but New York state hasn’t elected a Republican governor since 2002.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll from late September to late October indicated the economy was the biggest concern for voters, although five percent ranked crime or corruption as the most important issue.
During a debate on Spectrum News, Hochul asked: “Is Donald Trump a great president?”
Zeldin replied: “I worked closely with him on many important policies.”
Hochul then replied: “Yes or no, yes or no.”
In an unrelated incident in October, police were called to a shooting outside his Long Island home.
His family, who was not injured, was not connected to the shooting, police said.
Bringing crime to the center of Tuesday night’s debate, he told Hochul: “We need to make our streets safe again.
“I’m running to take back our streets and support our men and women in law enforcement.”
The pair later clashed over different weapons used across the state, with Hochul accusing Seldin of trying to “fear” New Yorkers about crime.
Referring to Monday’s St. Louis school shooting, he pointed to the need for stricter gun control measures.
Zeldin shot back: “Unfortunately, Kathy Hochul believes only crimes are committed with guns.
“Also, you have people who are afraid of being pushed in front of oncoming subway cars. They are stabbed and beaten to death in the street with hammers.”
Hochul is a former lieutenant governor of the state. She became New York’s first female governor after Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned last year.
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