ALBANY (TNS) — Lee Zeldin thinks a red tide will once again sweep Long Island and help the GOP win seats in the state Senate.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate, congressman and Suffolk County native is confident his fellow conservatives will gain ground in the Legislature by winning back a majority of Senate seats representing suburban and eastern Long Island in elections.
“We’re going to break the supermajority in the Senate and the state Assembly,” Zeldin, who hopes to unseat Governor Hochul, a Democrat, told reporters at an upstate rally last week. . “I’ll tell you what, if it’s such a good night on Tuesday, don’t be surprised if you start talking about the state senate changing hands.
“We see it. We see it on Long Island. At least eight of the nine seats, I think, will be in Republican hands,” he added.
In 2018, Democrats wrested control of the 63-seat upper house from Republicans in part by flipping several districts in Nassau and Suffolk. Senate Democrats expanded their conference to 42 members in 2020, giving them a non-veto supermajority in the Legislative Assembly.
Republicans hope to retake some of the nine districts that span the two counties and build on big wins from last year when suburban voters adopted conservative candidates in a number of key positions across the country. island.
The GOP flipped the two district attorney positions on Long Island from blue to red, and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, defeated incumbent Democrat Laura Curran last November after beating the drum on the criminal justice and bail reforms – a message embraced by Zeldin’s campaign over the past year.
Biden appears with Hochul
Declaring that the midterm elections mark a watershed moment for American democracy, President Biden rallied behind Hochul on Sunday.
“We all know in our bones that democracy is in danger,” Biden said at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville. “Now is the time for your generation to defend it, to preserve it, to choose it.”
In remarks reminiscent of a national campaign speech, the Democratic president repeatedly criticized Republican Holocaust deniers and what he called the GOP’s growing embrace of political violence. He noted that Zeldin voted in Congress against certification of the 2020 election results, which former President Donald Trump falsely claimed to have won.
“Kathy’s opponent is one of those Holocaust deniers. These Holocaust deniers aren’t just trying to deny your right to vote; they are trying to deny the right to have your vote count,” Biden said.
“There’s never been a time in my career where we’ve glorified violence on a political basis,” he added, pointing to the recent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
After the Supreme Court last summer ended the constitutional right to abortion in its Dobbs decision, Democrats around the country seemed to bet the issue would define the midterms. Instead, they scrambled to address voter concerns about inflation and crime.
Zeldin’s criticism of New York crime and Democratic economic policy has put him close to beating Hochul, according to the polls — an astonishing situation in New York’s deep blue.
Biden has sought to create a stark contrast between Hochul, who has backed his administration’s landmark initiatives, and Zeldin.
He noted that she was overseeing local spending from Democrats’ infrastructure legislation and working to strengthen state gun control laws, measures both opposed by Zeldin.
Biden also touched on abortion rights while emphasizing the historic nature of Hochul’s candidacy.
“Tuesday night, with your help, she will be New York’s first elected female governor,” the president said. “Even before the Dobbs decision was made, your governor took steps to protect patients and physicians to ensure that a woman’s right to choose in New York would be protected.”
Hochul automatically rose from lieutenant governor to governor in August 2021, when his predecessor Andrew Cuomo stepped down amid a sexual misconduct scandal.
Zeldin kept its campaign strong throughout the weekend, hosting a bus tour of Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties on Sunday.
He mocked Hochul for asking top Democrats for help with his campaign.
“Well, why are you bringing all these people to New York if this race isn’t as close as it actually is?” Zeldin said at a previous event, according to ABC7 New York.
In remarks introducing the president on Sunday, Hochul nodded to the challenges of Democrats across the country.
“People say, the problem with Democrats… they just don’t send the right message. Republicans are better at messaging,” she said.
“I can offer a very simple message,” the governor continued, listing major Democratic issues such as gun control.
“You want to protect a woman’s right to determine what she wants to do with her own body? Hochul said. “Then vote Democrat.”