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Hochul, Zeldin in the Lead in Governor's Race

Thu, 06/16/2022 - 11:48
Representative Lee Zeldin and Gov. Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Representative Lee Zeldin are comfortably ahead of their respective challengers in the June 28 primary election for governor of New York, according to a poll conducted last Thursday and Friday and released on Monday.

The Emerson College/PIX11/The Hill poll surveyed 500 “very likely” voters in both the Democratic and Republican primary elections. Each has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

Governor Hochul, the former lieutenant governor who succeeded Andrew M. Cuomo in August following his resignation amid credible accusations of rampant sexual harassment, had the support of 57 percent of Democratic voters polled. Representative Tom Suozzi of New York’s Third Congressional District had 17 percent, and Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate, had 6 percent. Twenty percent were undecided.

On the Republican side, Mr. Zeldin, who was elected to represent New York’s First Congressional District in 2014, had 34 percent of very likely voters in the Republican primary. Rob Astorino, a former Westchester County executive and his party’s 2014 nominee for governor, was next with 16 percent. Harry Wilson, a businessman, had 15 percent, and Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump administration official and the son of former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, had 13 percent. Twenty-two percent were undecided.

The governor had a 59-percent approval rating among Democratic voters surveyed, and a 76-percent disapproval rating among Republican voters.

Should they win their respective primary elections, the governor and Mr. Zeldin could be heading for a close race in the Nov. 8 general election, which is widely predicted to be a bleak one for Democrats. A Republican consulting group’s poll of 830 voters released in April had the governor leading Mr. Zeldin by just four percentage points, 35 percent to 31 percent. In March, The Washington Times reported that an internal poll showed Mr. Zeldin leading the governor, 45.5 to 44 percent.

But while Mr. Zeldin has won election in the First District four times — three of them by a wide margin — his enthusiastic embrace of former President Trump, who lost to President Biden in the state by more than 20 percentage points in 2020, may be a liability in blue New York, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a more than a 2-to-1 majority.

In a debate with his three competitors for the nomination on Monday, Mr. Zeldin said that “if President Trump wants to run” in 2024, “he should run. And I believe that he’ll be the Republican nominee, and he’ll win.”

Asked about the ongoing hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and Mr. Trump’s role in it, he said that the then-president “told his supporters to go peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol” before pivoting to attack Mr. Wilson as a “never-Trumper” and “RINO,” meaning “Republican in name only.”

Asked about the Supreme Court’s apparently imminent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision in which the court ruled that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, Mr. Zeldin said that “the law in New York goes far beyond Roe, and I believe that a lot of people who consider themselves to be pro-choice would agree with me when I say that we shouldn’t allow late-term, partial-birth abortion in this state.” He added that “it should be legal for there to be parental consent” and that “we should be doing more to promote adoption.”

Early voting in the primary elections for governor and State Assembly starts on Saturday.

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