Up Close preview: Congressman Zeldin takes aim at Hochul, crime in race for New York governor

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Thursday, October 20, 2022
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Lee Zeldin joined the Eyewitness News set for Up Close to discuss his bid to unseat New York Governor Kathy Hochul as election day approaches. Bill Ritter has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The race for governor in New York is tighter than it has ever been this election season, and it's being watched across the country.

Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul, until recently, had a commanding lead over Republican Congressman Lee ZeldIn.

The latest polls showed that lead had been cut to 11 points in one poll, and just four points in another.

After interviewing Hochul on Wednesday, Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter sat down with Zeldin for Up Close, to discuss why he wants the job and whether his support of former President Donald Trump will hurt him in New York.

"This state is now leading the entire nation in population loss and we need to understand why that is," Zeldin said. "Why is it that a New Yorker is feeling their breaking point and choosing to flee? If they don't feel safe in the state, why is that and what can we do about that? I know we can hit the ground running to get things going in the right direction and make our streets safer again."

Crime and safety, of course, is a top priority for Congressman Zeldin, who says, if elected, he plans to take an unprecedented step on day one.

"I have publicly pledged that my first action, my first day will be to notify Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg that he is going to be fired," he said. "I believe there is a crime emergency in New York and I have publicly pledged that if the state legislature isn't coming to the table, I will declare a crime emergency and suspend New York's cashless bail law."

When asked why he would fire Bragg, who is a publicly-elected official, Zeldin said:

"Alvin Bragg has pledged starting on day one with his day one memo not to enforce all different kinds of laws across the board," he said. "Other laws, he treats as lesser offenses. We need a district attorney who understands that. DA stands for district attorney and not defense attorney."

According to many polls, Congressman Zeldin has closed the gap with Governor Hochul over the past few weeks and was just publicly endorsed by President Trump.

Zeldin was asked if he thinks Trump is a liability.

"There are people who strongly support him. There are people who don't, but at the end of the day, it's Lee Zeldin versus Kathy Hochul on the ballot and for people who care about the state, which is what this campaign is about, I would encourage people to look at the contrast in positions - I oppose congestion pricing, she supports it, the list goes on."

Bill Ritter sat down with Governor Hochul Wednesday.

You can watch his entire interviews with Zeldin and Hochul on Up Close this Sunday morning at 11 a.m. The election is two weeks from Tuesday.

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