Midterm results: Kathy Hochul holds off stern Lee Zeldin challenge in New York governor race

Election 2022 New York Governor
Republican candidate for New York Governor Lee Zeldin, left, participates in a debate against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul hosted by Spectrum News NY1, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Pace University in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool) Mary Altaffer/AP

Midterm results: Kathy Hochul holds off stern Lee Zeldin challenge in New York governor race

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Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) became the first elected female governor of New York on Tuesday, defeating challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and securing her first electoral win after she finished the term of former Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned last year.

Hochul bested Zeldin in a tighter race than anticipated, with Zeldin closing the margin between the competitors to under 10 points in October after gaining traction in Long Island and New York City. The race prompted visits from heavyweight Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

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Hochul, who was confronted with a mass shooting in Buffalo during her first year in office in May, promised tighter gun control laws during her campaign and signed two pieces of gun control legislation during her term. However, both legislations were met with backlash from the Supreme Court. The highest court also struck down a provision in the state’s gun laws that claimed anyone seeking a gun needed a “legally recognized reason for wanting to possess or carry a firearm” in June.

Zeldin focused his campaign on battling rising crime rates in the state and criticized the state’s bail laws. He also called for the removal of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Rising crime has been a major source of debate since the mass shooting, and Zeldin accused the governor of being soft on crime.

“My opponent thinks that right now, there’s a polio emergency going on but there’s not a crime emergency — different priorities that I’m hearing from people right now that are not being represented. … Halfway through the debate, she still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes,” Zeldin said during a debate last month.

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Hochul also focused her campaign on making New York a “sanctuary” state that gives women access to abortions and sought to compare Zeldin to former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 rioters.

New York’s gubernatorial race was one of 36 governor races across the country and part of the bigger midterm elections for Congress where Republicans are expected to take back the House and possibly the Senate.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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