‘Problem is crime’: Kathy Hochul in trouble in race for governor of New York

Lee Zeldin, a pro-life, pro-gun, and fervent Republican Trump supporter, is within notable distances to becoming the next governor of the Democratic bastion of New York, thanks to a The campaign worked non-stop to relieve voters’ anxiety about crime and lawlessness.

Some veteran New York political observers are still betting that incumbent Kathy Hochul will prevail in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two-to-one and where the rebound is overwhelming. The big box around the recent elections is a battle between the centre-left and the progressive left.

However, Zeldin’s late accusation shocked observers and seemed to reinforce growing confidence in the motivations of this. midterm elections cycle: voter concerns about crime and a shrinking economy, attacked by Republicans, are displacing Democrats’ focus on defending abortion rights in the wake of Trump’s decision. Supreme Court Roe vs Wade . reversed in June.

On Tuesday night, the candidates repeated those lines of attack as they met in their first and only debate. During the frenzied hour-long skirmish, Zeldin accused Hochul’s administration of shady dealings with donors and demanded to know why she hadn’t fired the radical Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, a proponent of sentencing reform.

“I am running to get our streets back and to support our men and women in law enforcement gratuitously,” said Zeldin. He also offered a stark difference between the two candidates’ views on the pandemic, saying: “Let me be clear to all the parents out there. I won’t force your child to get a Covid vaccine. When.”

Hochul countered that Zeldin could not be trusted to defend abortion rights and forced him to vote against Joe Biden’s endorsement of victory in the 2020 election. In a memorable moment, she demanded. Long Island congressman answered a “yes or no” question: “Is Donald Trump a great president?”

Zeldin declined, though he cited several policies from the Trump presidency that he supported.

The problem of crime and public safety seems to have reverberated far beyond New York. In Wisconsin, it helped Republican Senator Ron Johnson take back his position against Radical Democrat Mandela Barnes. In Pennsylvania, Republicans Mehmet Oz is following a similar book in a close race with John Fetterman.

According to a recent poll by Politico, more than three-quarters of voters say violent crime is a big problem in the US – even though they disagree on remedies.

“The problem is crime and economics – not abortion. Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime political strategist in New York, said. While he doesn’t dismiss the passion stirred by abortion, Sheinkopf argues that for most voters, it entails “the fear of being shot while walking down the street or putting food on the table. “.

Chapin Fay, who managed Zeldin’s 2014 congressional campaign and is currently fundraising for him, agrees. “I think she’s learning what Democrats across the country are learning,” he said of Hochul. “The abortion issue is not working as well as they hoped.”

By contrast, Fay argues, the seemingly random nature of recent crimes in New York – with victims being pushed onto subway tracks by unidentified assailants – and speaks of a The looming recession has created a climate of fear that is hurting incumbents. “I think people are really upset and scared,” he said.

Since George Pataki’s re-election in 2002, Republicans have lost every gubernatorial race in New York by double digits. True to form, Zeldin, an Iraqi lawyer and veteran from the suburbs of Shirley, Long Island, followed Hochul by wide margin throughout the summer and is often seen as a latecomer.

But things started to change earlier this month after two teenagers were injured in an apparent drive-by shooting outside Zeldin’s home while his twin daughters were studying inside. The bleeding victims were sheltered under his porch.

The episode was a vivid rendition of the rampant crime he talked about on the campaign trail. For suburban voters, that seemed to confirm the fear that violence in the city could spill over into their neighborhoods, too.

A former New York political agent observes that crime has not been an issue in the state since the early 1990s, and as a result, many libertarian voters now have low levels of tolerance for violence. with it. “New Yorkers are not used to crime being a problem,” the person said. “But crime and public safety are the most serious problems as it goes south.”

A Quinnipiac University poll released a week ago found that Zeldin was trailing Hochul between 50% and 46%. The average polls compiled by the FiveThirtyEight blog give a difference of 7 points.

After running a modest campaign, Hochul has moved in recent days to remind voters of her law and order credentials, including an appearance this weekend with Eric AdamsNew York City mayor and former police captain.

While Hochul is an incumbent, she is not a particularly strong person. She was appointed governor last year only after Andrew Cuomo resigned under pressure, and remains unknown to many voters.

The Buffalo natives did not command equal loyalty among unions and the New York City community that allowed Cuomo to mobilize large numbers of Democratic voters and offset potential weaknesses in other parts of the country. state.

For Zeldin to gain the upper hand, many Democratic voters will have to stay home on November 8 and he will have to infiltrate the hospitable political terrain of New York City.

“The environment will expose him to some [of] score,” “Fay predicts,” and then it’s up to him and his campaign to get him to the top.

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