Race for NY governor: Zeldin receives big endorsement, tightens gap with Hochul in polls

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Friday, October 21, 2022
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New York City residents voice concerns on increase in subway crime ahead of the gubernatorial election.

New York (WABC) -- Another poll shows the race for New York governor is getting closer as crime remains a key issue for the candidates.

A new Survey USA poll on Friday revealed that Gov. Kathy Hochul is losing her stark lead over challenger Lee Zeldin in the New York governor's race.

Two months ago, the same poll showed Hochul was ahead by 24 points, but Hochul and Zeldin now sit at 47% to 41%, respectively.

On Friday morning, Zeldin scored an endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police. This key endorsement came one day after he attended the annual Al Smith charity dinner right next to his opponent.

Both Hochul and Zeldin visited the ABC7 studio this week to discuss one of the most pressing issues in New York: crime.

"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. People that have an order of protection violated or a hate crime. So we gave those changes, we gave more discretion to judges," Hochul said about her controversial bail reform law from earlier this year.

Zeldin said that the entire law needs to go and some minors who commit crimes should be charged as adults.

"You have some young kid that commits their first offense, you don't want them stuck in some pipeline to prison because of that one charge. But what's happening is that that law is being used, where these teenagers are being used to commit crime after crime after crime," Zeldin said.

RELATED: Eyewitness News is tracking crime and safety across New York City and in your neighborhood

Transit crimes in particular are up more than 40% compared to last year. Riders say recent crimes on public transportation are impacting their votes.

Earlier this week, a man was stabbed during a dispute on the subway, before the suspect fled into the Upper West Side's 72nd Street station and onto a different train. The victim claimed he would be dead if his girlfriend hadn't used pepper spray on the suspect.

In another incident, a man was injured after a sword-wielding suspect attacked him on an A train at the Chambers Street station.

"My sister in-law just got on the subway the other day and someone got beat up right in front of her face," subway rider Ariel Dagan said.

Mayor Eric Adams is blaming the rise in crime on mental health and wants to strengthen Kendra's Law, which allows courts to force certain defendants to stay in treatment for their mental health.

Crime will likely play a role in this upcoming election, with only 18 days left until New Yorkers vote for governor.

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