In New York, the race for governor will be between Hochul and Zeldin
Updated June 28, 2022 at 11:19 PM ET
ALBANY - Congressman Lee Zeldin has emerged from the four-way Republican primary for governor as the winner, beating out Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudy Giuliani, according to a race call from The Associated Press.
Zeldin, of Long Island, had the backing of Republican Party leaders across the state who voted earlier this year to make him their designated candidate — a distinction that gave him an automatic spot on the primary ballot without petitioning.
But incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul is the candidate to beat in this race. New York has more than twice as many registered Democrats than registered Republicans, with independent voters also outpacing the GOP.
Hochul, a Democrat from Buffalo, who had been New York's No. 2 official, rose to power in August after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned under the weight of multiple sexual harassment allegations and scandals surrounding his once-lauded response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her elevation to the state's top office made her the first woman to serve in the role, but still, no woman has ever been elected to the position.
Now, Hochul is running for a full, four-year term as an incumbent with just 10 months in office under her belt.
Hochul has a relentless campaign fundraising strategy that saw her amass more than $30 million.
The governor's campaign has blanketed the state's airwaves touting her record during her short time in office, which includes a gas-tax reduction through the end of the year and a series of gun-control and abortion-access measures she signed into law just this month.
On Saturday, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion, Hochul tweeted from her official account, "My message to anyone who needs abortion care: New York will be your safe harbor."
My message to anyone who needs abortion care: New York will be your safe harbor. pic.twitter.com/CfbvrsFJAy— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) June 25, 2022
But Hochul's tenure has not been without controversy. She selected then-state Sen. Brian Benjamin, a Manhattan Democrat, to replace her as lieutenant governor despite questions over his past campaign-fundraising tactics. Within six months, Benjamin was arrested on federal bribery charges and resigned.
Hochul's opponents faulted her for spearheading a deal to build a new $1.4 billion football stadium for the Buffalo Bills, which came with $850 million in direct public subsidies. And they've latched on to her past positions on gun issues, which earned her an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association when she represented a conservative-leaning district in Congress a decade ago.
Hochul has said her views have changed on the issue of gun control, and she successfully led the effort to boost the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 in New York after an 18-year-old killed 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket last month.
"Judge me by what I've done," she said. "Because a lot of people have evolved since I took that position. You know what we need? More people to evolve."
Copyright 2022 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit WNYC Radio.