Republican New York Rep. Lee Zeldin defeated three other candidates in a primary on Tuesday to be the party’s gubernatorial nominee, and will face off against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in November.
With 70% of votes counted, Zeldin held 43.8% support, and runner-up Andrew Giuliani garnered 23.1%. Recent polls placed Zeldin as the presumptive front-runner, closely leading Giuliani and former Obama administration official Harry Wilson. Zeldin held the formal backing of New York’s Republican and Conservative Parties.
Rep. Lee Zeldin has won New York’s GOP gubernatorial primary. He will face Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in the November election. https://t.co/yQPh5RN4xI
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 29, 2022
Despite months of negative advertising against him, Zeldin maintained a slim lead for much of his campaign, according to several polls. The latest data showed the sitting congressman and Giuliani in a statistical tie.
Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, has emphasized his experience in the Trump White House in efforts to find support among base voters. (RELATED: Trump-Backed West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney Wins Nasty Member-Versus-Member Primary)
“They are a part of who I am, right? I mean I worked for four years for President Trump and I am my father’s son,” Giuliani said in a Bloomberg interview. “For me, I think I’m just going to continue to push the policy platforms that I know will work for all New Yorkers whether or not you voted for Donald Trump, whether or not you voted for Rudy Giuliani or you didn’t.”
Despite voters naming crime and taxation as top issues, the candidates have primarily debated support for former President Donald Trump. During a June 21 debate hosted by Newsmax, Giuliani pivoted away from Zeldin’s comments on crime and instead attacked Zeldin for past comments he made about the former president. Zeldin agreed in 2016 that Trump’s comments about a Mexican-American judge were racist, describing them as “regrettable.”
“This is a guy who a couple of years ago said that President Trump made racist statements and then lied to you last night, ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately, he’s going to flip and flop,” Giuliani said.
Trump did not endorse any of the gubernatorial hopefuls, despite ties to Giuliani and former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino. Astorino, a longtime friend of the former president, served as an adviser to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Hochul, who defeated Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, is considered a heavy favorite in November.