Gov. Hochul, Rep. Zeldin to face off on debate stage before Election Day

Monday, October 24, 2022
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As things heat up in the gubernatorial race, Kathy Hochul and Republican nominee Lee Zeldin will face off on the debate stage for the first time and only time before the election. NJ Burkett has more.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As things heat up in the gubernatorial race, Kathy Hochul and Republican nominee Lee Zeldin will face off on the debate stage for the first time and only time before the election.

On Sunday, Democrats rallied in Manhattan, trying to give a boost to Hochul, who has seen her lead in the polls shrink to as little as just four percent.

"We've got to recognize what is on the ballot and democracy, my friends, is on the ballot," said New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

Democrats have campaigned on threats to democracy and abortion rights. However, pollsters are finding that the economy and a rising tide of violent crimes are no less important to voters.

Governor Kathy Hochul once held a double-digit lead over Republican Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin.

A Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released last week showed Hochul leading Zeldin by just four points. On the same day, a similar Siena College poll gave Hochul an 11-point lead. A third poll by SurveyUSA gave the governor a six-point lead.

Zeldin has attacked Hochul on issues like bail reform.

"What's happening is that law is being used, where these teenagers are being used to commit crime after crime after crime," said Zeldin.

The Governor insists that the compromise she brokered in Albany made bail laws tougher.

"Repeat offenders, exactly the people you're talking about, are now covered under the old bail laws. Anything with guns? Covered by the old bail laws," said Hochul.

This weekend Hochul committed more MTA police officers to patrol the subway. The Democrats were heckled at their rally by several Zeldin supporters - one even tried to take over the stage and was quickly led away.

David Rem says he is voting for Republicans.

"Bail reform has destroyed our city," Rem said.

Hope Singsen is supporting the Democrats.

"The Republicans are trying to take away our freedom to decide if and when we have a family, our freedom to create a better future for our kids and they only care about the wealthy few," Singsen said.

On Sunday night, Zeldin finally announced he will debate Governor Hochul after holding out for a series of debates. Instead, the governor has agreed to just one on Spectrum News - for one hour on Tuesday evening.

RELATED | In their own words: Hochul, Zeldin on the top issues on 'Up Close'

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