NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York race for governor is one of the most important political elections in the country this year.
Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul, until recently, had a double-digit lead over Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.
The latest poll shows that lead has been cut to just four points. Zeldin, very close to Donald Trump, is playing up the fear of crime in New York City.
Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter talked to Governor Hochul for Up Close. His first question to her: why does she want to be governor for the next four years?
"I'm focused on policies that will make you want to live here, have the ability to raise a family, afford a home, and build a business and build a home here," Hochul said. "Every policy I think about goes through the lens of what's best for New Yorkers. I have the experience, I've been on the job, I've been tested."
One of those tests is a rise in violent crimes, particularly here in New York City.
"You cannot have a crime policy that does not address illegal guns," Hochul said. "That is the power the governor has. I support local police. I tripled the amount of money for local law enforcement here in the city and across the state. But what I can do most is stop the flow of illegal guns coming into our state."
As for stopping all of those recent, high-profile crimes on the subway, the governor offered some solutions.
"Putting cameras on the trains. No one has done that before. I want law enforcement to identify perpetrators," Hochul said. "I said when I announced this a few weeks ago, you're on notice now. You want to do something to harm another person, we are watching you. So that is a big deterrent, but also we need cameras, we need more cops."
Hochul spent a good deal of time discussing crime, not just because voters said it was their number one issue, but also because Republican Lee Zeldin has hammered the governor on her record.
"He wants to arm everybody. He thinks we are safer. The more guns on the street, Lee Zeldin thinks we are safer," Hochul said. "He opposed my plan to keep guns out of the hands of teenagers, assault weapons, he opposed that. He opposed background checks."
Hochul said it's disingenuous to say she's against crime when Zeldin doesn't talk about getting guns off the street.
"Here where I have been focusing my attention on that since i was governor. Get serious," she said.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state of New York by more than 2 to 1, and in New York City it's 7 to 1.
This is why so many people around the country are now watching the race for New York governor so closely.
You can watch Bill Ritter's full interview with both Governor Hochul and her Republican challenger Congressman Zeldin on Up Close Sunday morning at 11 a.m. on Channel 7 and on ABC7NY.
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