As election day approaches, the race for the New York gubernatorial seat between Democrat Hochul and Republican Zeldin intensifies.
Running in the election are current New York governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who took office after Andrew Cuomo resigned amid a scandal in August 2021, and Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican congressman who has represented eastern Long Island since 2015. Hochul is the state’s first female governor, while Zeldin is an Army reservist. As election day approaches, the two have been aggressively canvassing for New Yorkers’ votes.
On Tuesday, October 25, the candidates faced each other in their one and only televised debate. In the debate, they discussed crime, guns, the 2020 presidential election, and abortion.
On crime, which has consistently scored high on the list of voters’ worries in practically every poll in the election, Zeldin criticized Hochul’s handling of crime and expressed opposition to the city’s 2019 sweeping bail reform law. Hochul attempted to use Zeldin’s opposition to gun control measures, including a bipartisan deal that was recently passed in Congress, to turn the tables on the Republican.
Democrats and Republicans
In the 2020 presidential election, Zeldin voted in Congress against certifying the election, but Biden won in New York by nearly 2 million votes. “In Lee Zeldin’s world, you overturn elections you disagree with,” Hochul remarked. When asked if he would still vote against certifying the 2020 election at this time, Zeldin demurred. He said that “election integrity should always matter.”
On abortion, Hochul expressed disappointment in a statement when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Zeldin was consistently chastised for his anti-abortion stance. In May, he told an anti-abortion rights organization that he believed appointing a “pro-life” health commissioner was a great idea.
On the campaign trail, Hochul held a campaign rally in Queens on Sunday. Zeldin also visited the Christian Cultural Center, a Black church in East New York, Brooklyn. In the race to the finish line, both candidates attempted to trump each other by wrapping their arms around Mayor Eric Adams. Because they are both Democrats, Hochul had him at her side. Zeldin invoked Adams’ name, saying, “I served with Eric Adams in the New York State Senate for four years. We got along.”
New York hasn’t had a Republican governor since 2006. George Pataki was the last Republican governor. Hochul started the gubernatorial race with a substantial lead in a state where Democrats far outnumber Republicans. She dominated her primary election and has a significant fundraising advantage against Zeldin.
New Yorkers will also cast their votes for lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, state senators, state assembly members, ballot measures, and other local and special contests. Hochul’s running mate is Lt. Gov. Anthony Delgado, a former congressman. Alison Esposito, who retired from the NYPD as a deputy inspector this summer, is Zeldin’s choice for lieutenant governor.
With the first day of early voting on Saturday, New Yorkers will have their last day of early voting on Sunday, November 6. The following day is the last day to apply in person for a general election absentee ballot. Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8, with the polls in the city open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.