With latest polls exhibiting him with momentum in the tight race for governor, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin is aggressively concentrating on New York City voters fed up with crime in his bid to drag off a shocking upset over incumbent Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday.
The Long Island congressman mentioned his early bird April 2021 entry into the race has paid off — giving him a chance for the final 18 months to stump throughout the 5 boroughs spreading his crime-fighting message, and make inroads on his strategic map with Democrats in addition to Republicans and independents.
“We’ve been everywhere in the metropolis,” Zeldin, 42, instructed The Post between marketing campaign stops on Sunday. “We’ve had intensive engagement with the Asian, Latino and orthodox Jewish communities.”
A Republican wants to interrupt a minimal of 30% of the vote within the Big Apple to have a shot at successful statewide, Zeldin mentioned, noting that some polls have him pulling 35% or extra, whereas making important inroads amongst Latino voters.
“If we get 35% or extra of the vote in New York City we win,” he mentioned.
“We simply need to get our voters to the polls by 9 p.m. Tuesday. If we do, I can’t wait to get to work on Wednesday.”
GOP operatives predict Zeldin might give Hochul a run for her cash in areas with large Orthodox Jewish and Asian-American populations —- corresponding to southern Brooklyn, massive swaths of central and northeast Queens and the northern elements of the Bronx — in addition to Inwood and Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, residence to massive Latino and Hispanic communities.
Zeldin can also be anticipated to hold extra conservative Staten Island over Hochul by a double-digit margin.
“I believe 62 to 65% of the vote for Zeldin on Staten Island is a sensible goal, with the turnout price being increased than many of the different boroughs,” mentioned borough Councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican.
Zeldin will romp in Staten Island’s extra conservative south shore, from Great Kills to Tottenville, in addition to carry the east shore and mid-island neighborhoods of Rosebank, Midland Beach, South Beach, Grant City Dongan Hills, Todt Hill, New Springville, Willowbrook and Travis, GOP sources mentioned.
The island’s inhabitants of 500,000 consists of numerous cops and different uniformed officers in addition to Wall Street staff or different Manhattan commuters disgusted over crime. Support for cops and legislation and order — and opposition to New York state’s cashless bail law — amongst voters there makes Richmond County fertile floor for Zeldin.
“The crime message has taken maintain. People need to really feel protected on the subway and within the streets,” Zeldin mentioned. “People usually are not pleased with the cashless bail legislation and different pro-criminal legal guidelines supported by Kathy Hochul and Democrats in Albany.”
While crime has drawn many of the consideration, Zeldin mentioned Sunday that schooling has emerged as an essential challenge within the metropolis: Asian-American mother and father are ticked off at makes an attempt to finish merit-based elite excessive faculties, whereas the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood is upset at a state crackdown on Yeshivas and a few households, a lot of them minorities, are clamoring for extra constitution faculties that Hochul and the Democratic-run state Legislature won’t allow to increase.
Zeldin mentioned he helps merit-based center faculties and excessive faculties, lifting the state cap on constitution faculties in New York City and defending religious-based schooling from Albany interference over what’s taught.
He additionally predicted he’ll “carry out significantly better with Latino voters” than the political class expects.
The now-infamous case of bodega clerk Jose Alba, who was charged with homicide for fatally stabbing an assailant in self-defense, was a turning level with many Latino voters within the metropolis, Zeldin mentioned. The fees had been later dropped by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s workplace following an outcry — however the harm was completed.
“Alvin Bragg charged Jose Alba with homicide for defending himself! The Dominican neighborhood has engaged our marketing campaign with ardour and objective,” mentioned Zeldin, who was recently endorsed by a gaggle of Latino grocery market homeowners and mentioned he would oust Bragg as DA.
Zeldin might match and even do higher in different metropolis neighborhoods that went crimson within the mayor’s race final yr — backing Republican Curtis Sliwa over Democrat Mayor Eric Adams.
The beautiful 30 share level victory of GOP Councilwoman Inna Vernikov within the one-time Democratic-leaning district in southern Brooklyn reveals it’s prime turf the place Zeldin might greatest Hochul, sources mentioned.
Many of the predominantly Jewish voters in neighborhoods together with Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Bergen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach and Mill Basin fled Russia, Ukraine and different Soviet-sphere nations a technology in the past and detest communism and socialism, although a big chunk are registered Democrats.
The Ukrainian-born Vernikov — whose chief of employees Izzy Weiss helps the Zeldin marketing campaign with get-out-the-vote efforts — mentioned she foresees the gubernatorial hopeful to get an enormous slice of the votes in her district.
“I count on Congressman Zeldin to get no less than 75% of the vote right here, as everyone seems to be united and excited to elect him,” she mentioned. “This is Zeldin turf and we will’t wait to welcome Lee as our subsequent governor!”
Zeldin is also relying on an enormous vote from conservative ultra-Orthodox Jewish voters in Williamsburg, Borough Park and Midwood and Asian voters in Bensonhurst, as properly backing from pro-cop residents in Dyker Heights.
The Zeldin camp is anticipated to win districts in additional than a dozen Queens neighborhood slicing throughout the borough to the Nassau County border, together with Maspeth, Glendale, Woodhaven, Middle Village, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Breezy Point, Rego Park, Kew Gardens Hills, Northern Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Douglaston, and Little Neck.
“I imagine Zeldin goes to carry out properly all through District 32, particularly in areas that haven’t, traditionally, voted Republican corresponding to Woodhaven and Ozone Park,” mentioned GOP Councilwoman Joann Ariola, who represents japanese Queens alongside the Rockaway peninsula.
“The uptick in crime on our streets and subways in addition to gun violence that has been plaguing our metropolis have now grow to be extra prevalent in these in any other case quiet low crime areas inflicting voters to hunt change,” she mentioned.
Councilman Robert Holden, a Democrat who helps Zeldin, mentioned the Republican will carry his thirtieth district that features Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, and Woodside “by margin.”
“We’ve had crime right here that we haven’t seen in a long time,” mentioned Holden, who famous that Zeldin has visited communities in his district 4 instances, together with after a gasoline station was robbed.
Last yr, Republican Councilwoman Vicki Paladino gained a long-held Democrat seat in an upset in District 19 in Northeast Queens, which incorporates Whitestone, College Point, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, and elements of North Flushing. More than a 3rd of the voters in district are Asian-Americans.
Paladino’s chief of employees, Nicole Kiprilov, mentioned Zeldin is getting a “nice reception” in northeast Queens, together with from Latino voters, including, “There’s momentum from final yr’s election. The successful platform is widespread sense.”
Meanwhile within the Bronx, county GOP chairman Anthony Rendino mentioned Zeldin will make some inroads within the closely Latino borough as a result of voters are “sad with the Democrats”, notably over surging crime.
“We’re making enormous inroads within the Latino neighborhood,” mentioned Rendino, who expects Zeldin to do properly in City Island, Soundview, Hunts Point, Throgs Neck, Morris Park, Parkchester, Riverdale and Woodlawn.
Zeldin mentioned he has gotten “large turnouts” at his occasions, whereas Hochul on Friday generated a puny turnout at one in Chinatown.
The incumbent additionally had to herald President Biden in addition to different prime Democrats, like former President Bill Clinton, over the weekend to generate pleasure for her marketing campaign.
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