I still don’t believe it’s going to happen but nothing would make me happier than Lee Zeldin defeating Kathy Hochul two Tuesdays from now. As a Republican, Zeldin is at a disadvantage running statewide in New York. But then you see the clips from the Zeldin/Hochul debate and you hear Kathy Hochul saying that she doesn’t understand why Lee Zeldin is so concerned about crime and you realize that, if any Democrat could lose in New York in this environment, it would be Kathy Hochul.
As a sidenote, what is the deal with Democrats blowing debates this election year? Fetterman had a reason for his poor performance but what excuses can Kathy Hochul, Raphael Warnock, Tim Ryan, Beto O’Rourke, and Gretchen Whitmer offer up? If these people represent the best that the Democrats have to offer, the party is in real trouble.
It has been interesting to watch the polling in New York’s race for governor. Originally, no one was paying attention. New York is so blue that even Andrew Cuomo was able to get elected three times. No one expected Lee Zeldin to seriously challenge Kathy Hochul.
The last few days, though, the race has been tightening. While Hochul still leads, Zeldin is only a few percentage points behind and that would suggest that the momentum has shifted in the final weeks of the campaign. Along with the rise in crime, the struggling economy, and the Democratic Party’s decision to focus on social issues instead of the economic day-to-day issues that most voters are concerned about, Hochul’s problem is that people already know her so the people who are going to vote for her have already made up their minds to do so. In most polls, she’s polling between 47-50% and that’s probably the ceiling for her. Undecided voters, though, are now discovering Zeldin and enough of them seem to like what they say and, more importantly, dislike the job that Hochul and the Democrats are doing in Albany.
For the record, I would be stunned in Zeldin pulled it off. New York is very, very blue. For many people in New York, voting for Democrats is as automatic a thing as getting up in the morning. But the same was true when George Pataki defeated Mario Cuomo in 1994. If Zeldin does win in November or even comes close, that means it’ll be a good night for the GOP.
Lee Zeldin has tossed his hat into the ring to run for governor of New York. He says his platform will be that New York can’t afford any more of Cuomo. Personally, I think he’s right. I also find it interesting that he’s apparently assuming that Cuomo is going to be the Democratic nominee.
If Cuomo is the nominee, I think he’d still have a fair shot of winning because that’s the way New York is. New York is bluer than it’s ever been. It probably doesn’t help that the GOP use it and California in much the same way that the Democrats used Texas and Florida. When you continually tell a state that you think it represents everything bad about America, you can’t be surprised when your candidates struggle there.
Still, Cuomo would definitely be at his weakest and I get the feeling a lot of Democrats would prefer to see him step aside in 2022. What if Cuomo refuses to retire, though? Do the Democrats bite the bullet and renominate him? Do they try to impeach him? My guess is that they would try to beat him in a primary but that’s always a difficult thing to do with an incumbent and it would mean that a Democrat would have to step up and say that everyone in the party was wrong when they spent 2020 saying that Cuomo was the best governor in the country. And what if multiple serious candidates run against Cuomo and make it onto the primary ballot? What if Bill De Blasio somehow sneaks away with the nomination? (That’s a result that certainly would make Republicans happy.)
Personally, I’m hoping the best for Lee Zeldin but he’s got an uphill climb in front of him.