One decades-long Democratic state lawmaker said he plans to vote for Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) in the upcoming election, expressing frustration with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s halfhearted attempt to get serious on crime.
“The No.1, No.2 and No.3 issues for New Yorkers are crime, crime, crime,” Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who had served as an assemblyman in the New York state legislature for 35 years until 2018, told NTD News after the only debate prior to the Nov. 8 gubernatorial race.
During the hour-long debate on Tuesday night, Hochul and Zeldin faced off and discussed topics including the economy, abortion and COVID vaccine mandates. The most heated exchange, however, took place when Zeldin claimed that Hochul was failing to address rampant subway crimes as well as hate crimes against Jewish and Asian communities.
Hochul, who ascended to the governorship after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal, shot back, accusing the Long Island Republican of trying to “keep people scared” about crimes more than they should while insisting that her criminal justice policies are “making a difference.”
“Anyone who commits a crime under our laws, especially with the change they made to bail, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you,” the Democratic incumbent said at one point.
Hikind said that Hochul’s response shows that she “has no clue” whatsoever as to what concerns New Yorkers the most.
“There’s a 40 percent decrease in the number of people using the New York City subway system. That’s crazy,” he told NTD News. “I don’t blame people. They’re afraid. They’re concerned. They see the things that are happening on the subway system and in the streets of New York.”
“Hochul has no clue, and I think it was very clear last night,” Hikind continued, adding that he was “dumbfounded” about whether Hochul has a plan for the future at all. He also pointed to the fact that the governor didn’t start campaigning on the issue of crime until very recently when polls showed Zeldin steadily narrowing her lead.
In a campaign ad launched last week, Hochul placed Zeldin’s ties to former President Donald Trump on a pedestal, featuring footage of Trump at an April 2022 event in his Mar-a-Lago home in which he says “Lee fought for me very, very hard” and shows the former president giving Zeldin a supportive tap on the shoulder.
“Zeldin voted with Trump, too — nearly 90 percent of the time, against tougher gun laws, for extreme anti-abortion laws,” the narrator says. “Zeldin even voted to overturn the 2020 election to keep Trump in power.”
Hikind argues that the more Hochul runs ads like this, the better Zeldin will be performing in the election.
“Lee Zeldin was going up in the polls because the people of the State of New York understand that if there is no freedom to live, to breathe, to walk the streets, the rest is really just not important.”