In their only debate of the 2022 midterm election, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin battled over crime, abortion rights, and Zeldin’s history of disputing the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Hochul attempted to link Zeldin to former President Donald Trump and demolish Zeldin’s congressional voting record at the same time. Hochul stated, “You’ve been an election and climate change denier; you and Donald Trump were the masterful COVID deniers.”
Zeldin, for his part, sidestepped the subject of whether he would back Trump in a 2024 attempt, but justified his support for the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Zeldin was one of 147 House Republicans who opposed confirming President Biden’s election on January 6, 2021, just after Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol building.
“Two states, Pennsylvania and Arizona, were up for voting. The problem persists today, “Zeldin claimed. Moderators observed that there are no indications of massive, systemic electoral fraud in the 2020 election.
Zeldin agreed to accept the results of the governor election when questioned. “First and foremost, defeat is not an option. Second, to continue with your hypothetical inquiry, of course “He responded.
Hochul was accused by Zeldin of focusing on Trump to detract attention from her administration’s record on crime, which Zeldin has made a focal point of his campaign. “It’s no coincidence that you inquired about crime and my opponent wants to discuss the past president,” Zeldin remarked.
During the campaign, Zeldin pledged to declare a state of emergency in New York to suspend newly passed criminal justice laws and to remove Manhattan’s elected district attorney from office. On Tuesday night, he restated this pledge.
“The message will be conveyed loud and clear that if you’re the D.A., it means District Attorney and not defense attorney,” he said. “If he’s not going to perform his job, I’m going to do mine and remove him as quickly as possible.”
Hochul responded, “You cannot oust a lawfully elected official.” “However, I am not surprised by someone who votes to overturn a presidential election.”
When asked about her party’s 2024 prospects, Hochul expressed hope that President Joe Biden will run for re-election. She stated, “He has provided for the people of this country in ways of which we are still unaware.” Lee Zeldin voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which included infrastructure funding.
Hochul stated that she supports abortion access restrictions contained in the state’s codification of Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion statute struck down by the Supreme Court in June. “Do you know why the day after the Dobbs ruling nothing changed? It is because I am the governor of New York State and he is not “Hochul stated.
Zeldin said, “The law in New York was precisely the same as it was the day before, and I will not change that.” Later, though, Zeldin avoided addressing the moderators’ question on whether he would continue funding for Planned Parenthood from the state of New York.