USA News

Zeldin plotting Youngkin-like GOP surprise over Democrats in 2022

US HEADLINES:

Amid all the talk about Hochul and James and Williams vying for governor next year, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has a message for New Yorkers: Don’t count me out.

The Long Island congressman believes he can ride the same political wave as a fellow Republican, Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, to flip control of the Empire State next year for the first time since 2002.

And he thinks he can draw votes in Democrat-heavy New York City, too, by appealing to parents who feel their education choices are being taken away, much as Youngkin did in Virginia.

“On Nov. 2, we had huge wins around the state — Bruce Blakeman was named the official winner of the Nassau County executive race; we flipped the Nassau and Suffolk district attorney races; the Suffolk County Legislature, we flipped New York City council seats and we were active in a Westchester County legislative seat, James Nolan and he flipped that seat,” Zeldin told The Post.

Ads

“Part of analyzing 2022 is also understanding the alignment, and you’re going into a midterm and every midterm the party not in the White House wins. But in this case, it’s not just a Democrat in the White House, for the first time in my lifetime it’s one-party Democratic rule in DC, Albany, in New York City — at the same exact time.

“And as we saw on Nov. 2, the pendulum is swinging back and it’s going to continue to swing back next November.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul is a frontrunner for New York’s governor seat come the 2022 election.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Zeldin, 41, who has served four terms in the House, pointed to the recent GOP gains in state races as a sign that what some view as unattainable pickups for Republicans, including the race for the governor’s mansion, could be in play.

Zeldin, the state Republican Party pick to run for governor ahead of a primary that likely includes Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, and former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, said education and supporting law enforcement — two issues that have been attributed to the Youngkin campaign’s success in Virginia — have been key topics in his messaging strategy.

RELATED:  Column: Why do we still honor J. Edgar Hoover’s racist, homophobic legacy?

He believes they are topics that resonate in purple areas of the state where he says voters have expressed frustrations to him.

“Parents want to be involved in their kids’ education, and Democrats like [former Virginia Gov.] Terry McAuliffe and others are discouraging them from being involved in education around the country. Parents just want their kids to get a quality education and don’t want them indoctrinated or brainwashed,” he said.

“You have sex education material that isn’t age appropriate, upsetting parents, mask mandates in New York state on two year olds. Now they’re talking about COVID vaccine mandates as early as five year olds.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James helped take down disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York Attorney General Letitia James helped take down disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Getty Images

Zeldin added his discussions with traditionally Democratic voters on his positions in favor of school choice and ensuring programs for gifted students remain in place have been well received and could help give him an edge in the race.

“Minority children stuck in multi-generational poverty in New York City stuck in poor-performing schools are becoming more and more supportive of school choice, lifting the caps on charter schools,” he continued.

“When I’ve been talking to the Asian-American community in Flushing, Queens, they’re upset about advanced academics, the gifted and talented program being removed in the name of equity. So on the issues, we’re finding around the entire state that we’re on the right side of the issues that matter most to New Yorkers.”

While some have questioned whether Zeldin’s embrace of former President Trump — having served as a vocal ally, having been tapped to work on his impeachment team during the first impeachment proceedings — could hinder his ability to attract swing voters, he doesn’t think an endorsement from the former commander-in-chief will have a significant bearing on the race, noting he has consistently won difficult races, ousting a long-sitting Democrat in 2014 when he was first elected to the House.

RELATED:  Prince Andrew’s lawyers ask accuser Virginia Giuffre to hand over infamous photo

“The update as I travel around most of the states is that people have now taken down their Trump 2020 flags and they’ve replaced them with Trump 2024 flags. I would suggest for somebody who has a 2024 flag in front of their house, they love it,” he said.

“If you are in the inner city of New York, and you’re communicating with a Democrat voter who has always voted Democrat in every election always and now because they’re so upset about particular issues, that they’re thinking about voting Republican for the first time, I need to develop a personal relationship and connection with them that is about who I am, my position is on the issues that matter most to them,” Zeldin said.

“And I think, this applies to all endorsements, if they were to receive a message from a surrogate, I think it’s powerful if they hear from a Democrat community leader inside of the city, who they know and trust and saying I’m a Democrat I vote Democrat, but I’m supporting Lee Zeldin, you should too. I think the best way to analyze your question is based off of who you’re appealing to,” he added.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is already getting press covering by speaking with the Associated Press.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is already getting press covering by speaking with the Associated Press.
AP

Rep. Andrew Garbarino, a fellow Long Island Republican, expressed confidence in Zeldin’s ability to nationalize the governor’s race.

“I think he would be a great governor and he has my full support,” Garbarino told The Post. “And I think he’s got a great shot to win. He has the ability to nationalize the race and get the focus we need on the actual issues at hand in New York.”

RELATED:  Marilyn Manson turns himself into police for 2019 incident

While Republicans are hopeful about their odds of Zeldin taking over the executive mansion, Democrats and some within the party have made it clear they will use his relationship with Trump to try and knock him down in a state that President Biden won with 60 percent of the vote.

“The last thing New Yorkers need is a bats–t Trump sycophant running for governor who doesn’t believe in facts, gun safety or equality for all people,” one Democratic operative told The Post.

With the downfall of disgraced Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, Zeldin said he doesn’t think that Democrats have a quality that possesses the gravitas for the race to be a shoo-in for the party.

“They don’t have a good bench — they don’t have an Eliot Spitzer vintage 2006, they don’t have an Andrew Cuomo vintage 2010 when he ran the first time. They were at a different stratosphere of name ID and popularity. They were perceived to be ascending to the governor’s office briefly on their way to the White House. The Democratic bench doesn’t have somebody like that as far as the field right now,” he said.

“I believe that [Attorney General] Letitia James is most likely going to be the Democratic Party nominee, and in many respects, she has taken positions that are too far to the left, so we need balance. The trajectory of increasing taxes, increasing spending, attacking police, attacking education, attacking freedom is a formula for failure on the policy front. It’s a formula for failure on the political front.”

Latest US Breaking News & World News Today More Updates

News Today || News Headlines || World || Canada || Health || Technology News || UK News

Source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close