New York’s last GOP governor predicts ‘horse race’ as Zeldin closes in on Hochul

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Former Republican in New York Governor George Pataki saw His term in Albany is reserved for prominent Democrats Mario Cuomo and Elliot Spitzer. But the last Republican to hold the top office in the state told Fox News on Wednesday there was a good chance Deputy Li Zelden of Long Island can resist This trend as he did when he defeated the three-time Cuomo team in 1994.

Opinion polls suggest Zelden bridges the gap with Gov. Cathy Hochhol, who succeeded Andrew Cuomo’s disgraced son, with the election of New York’s governor less than three weeks later. Hochul has been heavily criticized for her handling of New York’s crime crisis and her support for lax criminal justice laws and appears to be losing voters’ trust.

“We have a real horse race for governor in New York,” Pataki said in an interview with The Story on Wednesday. “A month ago, I wouldn’t have said it. But… every day there is crime after crime after crime being committed in this city and across the state. And the public has suffered from that too.”

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Former New York Governor George Pataki speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire.
(AP Photo/Jim Cole, file)

Pataki noted The Democrats have an advantage of 1.5 million voters over the Republican Party at the state level, given that the nation’s greater Democratic determination outweighs hundreds of square miles of conservative rural areas in the southern and northern tiers.

He said Zelden appears poised to at least take the advantage of that advantage, with the latest Quinnipiac University poll showing Hoechul ahead of the congressman by just four points.

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From left, New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, DNY, tour the site of the World Trade Center disaster in New York on September 12, 2001.

From left, New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, DNY, tour the site of the World Trade Center disaster in New York on September 12, 2001.
(Robert F. Bocati/AFP via Getty Images)

By comparison, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer leads Republican Joe Benion III – a Bronx community activist and conservative commentator – by 12 points in his latest Q-Poll.

Pinion would become the first black senator in New York history if he defeated Schumer.

“It’s not easy,” Pataki said. “But I listen to people and across party lines. Crime is an issue first and foremost on everyone’s minds, and it’s why Zelden has a real opportunity.”

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Then- Gov.  Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Goff Cathy Hochhol during a cabinet meeting at the Capitol Building in Albany, New York

Then- Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Goff Cathy Hochhol during a cabinet meeting at the Capitol Building in Albany, New York
(AP Photo/Mike Groll, file)

Zeldin himself fell victim to the crime wave in the country. Speaking near Rochester earlier this year, a man with a pointed object jumped on stage and tried to hit him. More recently, an unrelated shooting took place outside his Shirley home, with two victims found on his balcony and in his bushes.

Pataki added that Hochul, along with New York Mayor Eric Adams, continue to downplay the crime epidemic, citing near-daily attacks on the MTA belt.

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“Democrats are still talking about things that matter to people, but far less than their personal safety or whether or not they’re going to get a job or whether or not their kids are moving to Texas because you can’t afford to live in New York.”

“So crime is the main issue – Lee Zelden is rising in the polls. We have a horse race, and it’s going to be interesting to see.”

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