Both sides declare victory after Governor Hochul and Congressman Zeldin debate

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NEW YORK – It was their one and only debate before election day. And afterwards, both sides declared victory. Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Congressman Lee Zeldin faced off at Pace University in Manhattan Tuesday night, which aired on Spectrum News NY1.

Not surprisingly, the first topic was about crime and safety. It has been the centerpiece of Zeldin’s campaign. And he didn’t waste any time calling out Hochul for her support of criminal justice reforms.

“We need to repeal cashless bail, we need to repeal the Halt Act, and raise the age, and less is more,” Zeldinn said. “We need to make our streets safe again. I’m running to take back our streets and support, unapologetically, our men and women in law enforcement.”

“There is no crime fighting plan if it doesn’t include illegal guns and you reuse to talk about how we can do so much more,” Hochul responded. “You didn’t even show up for votes in Washington when a bipartisan group of enlightened legislators voted for an assault weapon ban.”

On the economy and job creation, Hochul pointed to property tax rebates and her move to suspend the state tax on gasoline, and emphasized recent economic development successes.

“We have to have smart economic policies. I know how to create jobs. Ask Micron why they’re coming to New York with 50,000 jobs. Because we know how to do that, she said”

Zeldin said Hochul has failed to stop the migration of people leaving the state.

“What we have to do is have a state spending cap. We need to bring down taxes across the board. We should reverse the state’s ban on the safe extraction of natural gas and pursue other opportunities to create more jobs and generate more revenue and revitalize communities,” he told the moderators.

On abortion, and the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v Wade in the Dobbs decision there was more sparring.

“You asked a specific question, whether or not my opponent supports any restrictions at all on abortion. Of course, she didn’t answer it. It’s not a coincidence and she didn’t forget. What I have stated is the day after the Dobbs decision the law in New York was exactly the same as it was the day before,” Zeldin said.

“What is so appalling is the sort of general campaign conversion that we’re trying to hear from Lee Zeldin who will say, no, no, I really won’t change … the day after the Dobbs decision. You know why nothing changed the day after the Dobbs decision? It’s because I’m the governor of the State of New York and he’s not,” Hochul responded.

Even the issue of a 1.4 billion dollar new Buffalo Bills stadium, funded in part by state tax dollars, brought fireworks.

“Like Broadway is to New York City, the Buffalo Bills are to Western New York and our legislators made it a top priority in Albany. Every region has its own priorities, own regional projects. This was important to make sure the Buffalo Bills stayed in New York State and they were looking elsewhere,” said Hochul.”

“They’re not leaving. And listen, Bills Stadium, I was just at a Bills game recently and it’s a great place to watch a game. But giving a multi-billion dollar owner of a football team all of these tax dollars — which isn’t yours as the Governor. You’re actually supposed to be the steward of the money,” Zeldin responded.

The moderator also asked both candidates about a possible re-match of Biden-Trump in 2024.

Susan Arbetter: “Do you want to see Joe Biden run for re-election?

Kathy Hochul: “Yes I do. He has delivered for the people of this country in ways we still don’t know the benefits.”

Susan Arbetter: “Do you want to see Donald Trump run for president in 2024, Lee Zeldin?

Lee Zeldin: “Not even thinking about it. I’m focused on 14 days from today, defeating Kathy Hochul and saving New York State.”

Election Day is November 8th. Early voting begins this Saturday.