New York’s embattled Democrat governor Kathy Hochul will appear with Hillary Clinton and vice president Kamala Harris at a campaign event in Manhattan on Thursday, a sign of growing anxiety among Democrats about their midterm election prospects in a state they have controlled comfortably for years.
Hochul will need New York City Democrats to turn out in big numbers if she is to fend off an unexpectedly strong challenge from Long Island Republican Lee Zeldin (Ny.).
Hochul to campaign with Harris, Clinton
The governor will also be joined by attorney general Letitia James (D), known for her anti-Trump politics, at Thursday’s rally in New York City, the epicenter of the state’s crime wave and its largest Democrat stronghold.
Hochul has focused her campaign on liberal base concerns, painting Zeldin as an “extreme” MAGA Republican who wants to ban abortion, but Zeldin has made significant inroads by hammering the issue of crime and New York’s controversial bail reform law.
During her only debate with Zeldin last week, Hochul focused on tying Zeldin to Donald Trump and invoked the specter of “illegal guns” flooding the streets. But Zeldin noted that many New Yorkers fear being assaulted unprovoked or pushed in front of a train.
“They’re being stabbed, beaten to death on the street with hammers,” he said.
Dems sweating bullets
Hochul’s vulnerability is widely seen as a sign that a red wave is building ahead of Election Day that could wash over usually Democrat-controlled territory. No Republican has been governor of New York in almost 20 years.
The late Republican surge has brought Barack Obama to key battlegrounds across the country including New York, where he recorded an advertisement for Hochul. The Democratic Governors Association is also opening its pocketbook to keep Hochul in power.
Zeldin, meanwhile, campaigned with Florida governor Ron DeSantis (Fl.) on Long Island over the weekend and was joined Monday in Westchester by Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (R), whose upset victory last year Zeldin is looking to replicate.
With her polling advantage gone, Hochul has made an 11th hour pivot to talking about crime. But she has continued to strike an aloof note, claiming in an interview Tuesday that Republicans are tricking voters into thinking they aren’t safe.
“These are master manipulators. They have this conspiracy going all across America trying to convince people in Democratic states that they’re not as safe,” she said.
It may be too little, too late for Hochul to turn the tide, with a Trafalgar Group poll taken days before the election finding that Zeldin is narrowly in the lead by one point.