Crime, Trump center stage in sole New York governor’s debate

Oct 25, 2022, 5:39 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2022, 8:11 am

Republican candidate for New York governor U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, left, participates in a debate aga...

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

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Sparring over crime, abortion and the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection took center stage Tuesday as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul faced her Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin in the campaign’s only televised gubernatorial debate.

Hochul blasted Zeldin’s past support for abortion restrictions and for former President Donald Trump, while Zeldin vowed to repeal liberal criminal justice reforms and criticized Hochul’s push to send millions to abortion providers to expand access for a predicted surge in out-of-state patients.

Hochul labeled Zeldin an “election denier” and “climate change denier” as she tried to link him to Trump, who enjoyed little support in New York.

“In Lee Zeldin’s world, you overthrow the results of elections you don’t agree with,” Hochul said.

Zeldin voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Trump’s false claims of 2020 presidential election fraud fueled anger among supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, seeking to violently block Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

When asked by moderator Susan Arbetter, host of the Spectrum News state politics show “Capital Tonight,” if he would vote against certifying the results again, Zeldin didn’t directly say yes or no.

He instead said he wanted to focus on the future, and fight to institute voter ID laws to protect election integrity.

Hochul also asked Zeldin: “Is Donald Trump a great president? Yes or no?”

Zeldin praised Trump’s record on policies from Israel to the U.S.-border policy to pandemic containment.

And when asked if he would accept the results of the election if he lost, Zeldin said: “Well, first off, losing is not an option. Secondly, playing along with your hypothetical question, of course.”

The debate was co-moderated by Spectrum News NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.

Hochul, the state’s former lieutenant governor who took office after her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, resigned to avoid a likely impeachment, has enjoyed a strong lead over Zeldin in much of the polling this year.

But Zeldin remains a contender, enjoying support in wide swaths of upstate New York. Some recent polling suggests the gap between the candidates could be narrowing.

The Long Island Republican has spent much of the year railing against a streak of shootings and other violent crimes, including a series of unprovoked attacks on New York City subways. Two teenagers were also injured in a drive-by shooting outside his home earlier this month.

Zeldin on Tuesday charged Hochul with failing to take seriously the concerns of New Yorkers about crimes on subways and hate crimes against Jewish and Asian-American communities.

He also argued that liberal opposition to natural gas extraction and new pipelines in New York is hurting the state’s economy.

“You’re poorer and less safe because of Kathy Hochul and extreme policies,” Zeldin said, adding: “You deserve better.”

New York was among the first states to scale back the use of cash bail for criminal defendants starting in 2020.

Both before and after the reforms, only a small fraction of the people released while awaiting trial — less than 1% — were re-arrested for violent felonies.

Hochul has noted that other cities and states without similar cash bail laws have seen spikes of crime since 2020.


This story has been corrected to reflect that Hochul took office after the resignation of her predecessor, not her successor.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

13 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

16 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

22 hours ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

3 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

3 days ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Crime, Trump center stage in sole New York governor’s debate