Hochul launches attacks on Zeldin with primary in the rearview

ALBANY — Gov. Hochul wasted no time in previewing her plan of attack against Rep. Lee Zeldin Wednesday as she painted her Republican rival as a “Trump extremist.”

A day after a decisive Democratic primary win, Hochul took to the airwaves to slam Zeldin over abortion rights, gun control and his support for former president Donald Trump.

“This is not an ordinary Republican, this is a Trump extremist who supported the big lie, who voted against validating the election in 2020,” Hochul told NY1. “He also supports taking away women’s right to choose.”

Zeldin emerged the winner in a four-way race on Tuesday, securing the Republican spot for November’s gubernatorial general election. He will be joined on the GOP ticket by running mate Alison Esposito, a former NYPD deputy inspector who ran unopposed.

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado’s name will appear alongside Hochul on the ballot after they each defeated a pair of primary challengers. Hochul will be running for a full four-year term after replacing disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo last summer.

The Buffalo native, hoping to become the first woman elected governor in the Empire State, said she believes Zeldin’s love of Trump coupled with his anti-abortion stance will aid her in defeating the four-term congressman come November.

“This is New York, New York values run deep so we’re ready to fight,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to showing the extreme contrast between Democratic values and what someone like Lee Zeldin will try to sell this November.”

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin in New York. Hochul won the Dem primary on Tuesday with the support of 575,000 voters. Zeldin garnered 194,000 votes, according to unofficial tallies from the state Board of Elections. Hochul also has a massive fundraising advantage and a campaign war chest teeming with donations as she eyes the general.

Hochul’s campaign launched a new website Wednesday and released a statewide digital ad titled “Too Extreme,” highlighting Zeldin’s “dangerous and out-of-touch views for New Yorkers.”

Zeldin used his victory speech late Tuesday to hammer the incumbent governor, accusing her of catering to progressives and failing to address rising crime.

“Kathy Hochul, she’s in over her head,” she told the crowd at the Nassau County catering hall doubling as his election night headquarters. “She’s a walking identity crisis, to be honest. She’s been pandering to a far-left in this state.

“For us, we believe that public service is about serving the public,” he added. “Kathy Hochul has been acting as if the public has been there to serve her.”

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