In debate, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul hits out at Lee Zeldin on Trump, votes to reverse 2020 election

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin clashed Tuesday evening in their only debate 2022 mid-term campaignBattling crime, abortion rights, and Zeldin’s record when questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Hochul sought to link his rival to former President Donald Trump and destroy Zeldin’s voting record in Congress at the same time. “You have been an election denier, a climate change denier – you and Donald Trump were skilled COVID deniers,” Hochul said.

For his part, Zeldin refrained from answering questions about whether he would support Trump in the 2024 bid, but he defended his support of the former president’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election. Zeldin was one of 147 House Republicans who objected to attesting President Biden’s election victory January 6, 2021Soon after Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol building.

“The vote was on two states, Pennsylvania and Arizona. The issue remains today,” Zeldin said. Moderator notes there is no evidence of widespread systemic fraud 2020 election,

When asked, Zeldin also agreed to accept the results of the gubernatorial election. “Well, first, losing is not an option. Second, playing with your imaginary question, of course,” he replied.

Hitting back at Hochul, Zeldin accused him of focusing on Trump to divert attention from his administration’s record on crime, which Zeldin has made a central part of his campaign. “It’s no coincidence that you asked a question about crime, and my opponent wants to talk about the former president,” Zeldin said.

During the campaign, Zeldin promised to declare a state of emergency in New York to suspend recently passed criminal justice laws and remove Manhattan’s elected district attorney from office, and he reiterated this Tuesday night.

“The message will absolutely be sent that if you are the DA, it is for the district attorney, not the defense attorney,” he said. “If he’s not going to do his job, I’m gonna do my job and I’ll get him fired as soon as possible.”

“You can’t kick out someone who has been duly elected,” replied Hochul. “But for someone who voted to reverse the presidential election, I was not surprised.”

When asked about his party’s 2024 plans, Hochul said he expects President Joe Biden to seek re-election. “They have given for the people of this country in a way that we still do not know the benefits,” she said. “Inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure dollar that Lee Zeldin voted against.”

On the issue of abortion access, Hochul said that he was in favor of the landmark abortion law overturned by the Supreme Court in June, Roe v. Wade’s codification of the state. Hochul said, “You know why nothing changed the day after the Dobbs decision? It’s because I’m the governor of New York State and he’s not.”

“The law in New York is exactly the same as it was the day before, and I’m not going to change it,” Zeldin replied. Later, however, Zeldin refrained from answering a moderator’s question about whether he would continue New York state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Early voting in New York begins on October 29.

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