Gov. Kathy Hochul declares victory in NY governor's race, Zeldin refuses to concede

Rep. Lee Zeldin, Hochul's Republican challenger, declined to concede at his watch party in midtown Manhattan, saying not all votes have been counted.

 New York Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates at her midterm election night party after winning re-election in New York, New York, US November 8, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates at her midterm election night party after winning re-election in New York, New York, US November 8, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

Update: Lee Zeldin conceded the election Wednesday afternoon, congratulating Kathy Hochul

NEW YORK – Incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul declared victory in her race against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, but votes from key counties had yet to be tallied, according to early results.

"I'm deeply honored to be elected Governor of the State of New York," she tweeted, declaring the win at 11:12 pm. 

Hochul, 64, who took office after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation last year, claimed victory as the first woman ever elected to the state’s top job. 

“It’s going to be a little frustrating for members of the media who didn’t ever want us to be in contention here in New York."

Lee Zeldin at his watch party in Manhattan

Hochul's GOP challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin, has not conceded. At 12AM he took the stage at his watch party in midtown Manhattan, saying the race is not over yet. 

“It’s going to be a little frustrating for members of the media who didn’t ever want us to be in contention here in New York,” he told his thinning crowd of supporters that had packed the vast ballroom of Cipriani’s next to Grand Central Station. 

“What’s going to happen is over the course of these next couple of hours you’re going to see the race continue to get closer and closer and closer,” he continued.

"You're going to see a massive victory coming out of Long Island and across the rest of the state," Zeldin said. 

Hochul had 56.3 percent of the vote to Zeldin's 43.7 percent, according to preliminary NY1 results as of 11:16 p.m.

Some New York counties, including Suffolk, where Zeldin serves as congressman, had not finished counting votes as of early Wednesday morning. 

New York has not had a Republican governor in 20 years, but the Hochul-Zeldin race was the tightest gubernatorial race the state has seen in a generation.

Originally the clear underdog, Zeldin’s campaign surged in recent months as voters turned their attention to statewide crime and the economy.

If elected, Zeldin would have been New York's first Republican Jewish governor.