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GOSHEN, N.Y. – GOSHEN, N.Y. – Rep. Lee Zeldin say he’s “taking nothing for granted,” but on the eve of the New York State primary the front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination touted that he’s the Republican who can oust Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in November.
Looking to Tuesday’s primary, Zeldin predicted that “We’re going to win. We’re going to win big. And the best way to win in November is to crush this primary. We’re well on the way to be able to get that done as long as all of our supporters show up on primary day.”
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Zeldin made his prediction in an interview with Fox News in this Orange County town about 90 minutes north of New York City, which was the last stop on his final five day swing across the Empire State ahead of the primary.
Zeldin, a four-term lawmaker who represents New York’s 1st Congressional District, which covers the eastern half of Long Island, is the GOP gubernatorial nomination front-runner when it comes to endorsements, public opinion polling and fundraising.
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The primary field also includes Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive and 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee; Andrew Giuliani, who served in former President Donald Trump’s administration and is the son of former New York City mayor and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; and Harry Wilson, a businessman, investor and restructuring expert who’s poured millions of his own money into his gubernatorial bid.
Zeldin, who launched his campaign in April of last year and has crisscrossed the state numerous times over the past 16 months, spotlighted that he’s built “just a tremendous amount of grassroots support during this campaign.”
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“I am the candidate in this race who will beat Gov. Hochul in November,” he stressed. “We’re all in. We’re taking nothing for granted. It has been important to get to all 62 counties of the state over and over again to earn everyone’s support.”
The winner of the GOP primary will likely face off against Hochul. She is the clear polling and fundraising front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a race that also includes Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams.
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Hochul, who at the time was the state’s lieutenant governor, was sworn in last August as New York’s first female governor after three-term Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals.
Then-Gov. George Pataki’s 2002 reelection 20 years ago was the last time a Republican won a gubernatorial election in the blue state of New York.
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.