Zeldin to ‘Post’: ‘We have all the momentum - we need voters to show up'

Recent Emerson College Polling/Pix11/The Hill survey found that Hochul was leading Zeldin by just 6% with 4% remaining undecided.

 NY Representative Lee Zeldin at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, September 12, 2022 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
NY Representative Lee Zeldin at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, September 12, 2022
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

WASHINGTON – One of the most interesting gubernatorial races in November 8 midterm elections is in New York. Although it is considered a blue state – in 2020, Biden’s victory margin in New York was 23% – Republican candidate Lee Zeldin is narrowing the gap between himself and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Recent Emerson College Polling/Pix11/The Hill survey found that Hochul was leading Zeldin by just 6% with 4% remaining undecided. Zeldin, one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, is currently serving as a representative for the state’s first congressional district. If elected, the Army veteran will become the first Jewish Republican governor of New York.

“My family has been active with the Jewish community here in New York going back generations,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “My great grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn, very active in the yeshiva education movement, decades before I was even born.

“Through the generations that call to service, to do our part, to fight for our kids and their education, to combat antisemitism and much more are all responsibilities that I proudly take on,” Zeldin said. “I certainly do not take this responsibility lightly. And I believe that it is very important for us to be able to get this state heading in another direction. And my work with the Jewish community personally is something that has been going on long before I even started running for governor.

“Even as a member of Congress, as a state senator before that, I’ve been doing everything I can to combat antisemitism in our streets and to stick up for that next generation,” he said. “And every day I seek to work harder than the last to be able to make the progress that the people are so desperately looking for.”

 NEW YORK Congressman and Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin shakes hands with people during the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, earlier this month (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON) NEW YORK Congressman and Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin shakes hands with people during the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, earlier this month (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)

Asked about the recent polls, Zeldin sounded optimistic about his prospects of winning the race. “We have all the momentum, all the energy, and we have the issues on our side,” he said. “We’re feeling very good about where we are right now, where this is heading. We just need to make sure that all of our voters show up. There are a lot of people out there who have a right to vote and don’t necessarily look at that as a duty to vote or an obligation to vote. And

"I believe that it is our responsibility, all of us, to do everything in our power to make sure that we win this race, and save the state.”

Lee Zeldin

How are you going to campaign in the last days of the race?

What is your strategy or where are you going to be?

“We campaign all day, every day, everywhere. We start early and we end late. Our days are filled with rallies and media interviews and much time spent with voters of all walks of life: Republicans, Democrats, Independents, all across the entire state. So we will continue to campaign as hard as possible. It’s absolutely impossible to outwork us.”

How can you bring Democrats to vote Republican for governor in a state like New York?

“This is about Republicans, Democrats and Independents all uniting as New Yorkers to be able to save New York. There are a lot of Democrats who are concerned about issues such as rising crime, attacks on education, attacks on freedom. There are New Yorkers of all walks of life who struggle with rising costs, and we all must unite in order to turn this around. The status quo does not work. We need change. And I am honored to be able to do my part to help lead that effort, working with New Yorkers from all walks of life to be able to get this done. And that includes many, many, many Democrats who have been extremely supportive of our campaign. And that continues to grow every day.

However, the Democratic Party is criticizing Zeldin, pointing to the fact that he is closely aligned with former president Donald Trump, and considers himself “pro-life.” In a state like New York, that could make his task to bring Democratic voters on board harder.

“I have been focused on the issues that matter most to New Yorkers, especially rising crime and skyrocketing costs,” he said in response. “The other side doesn’t want to talk about these issues. Kathy Hochul said she doesn’t understand why it’s so important to me to be fighting crime and locking up criminals. And when she says that, she’s saying that to all New Yorkers who are concerned about these issues. So while I continue to focus on why New Yorkers are hitting a breaking point in this state, she’s refusing to address this and she’s going to suffer mightily at the polls because of it.”