NEW YORK, NY – Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) won New York’s Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday – defeating noted opponents such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew – and will now go on to challenge incumbent Kathy Hochul in November.
Zeldin, who currently represents New York’s 1st district located on Long Island, best three opponents to capture the GOP nomination, including Andrew Giuliani, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Going into the primary election, Zeldin was heavily favored to win, having the backing of the majority of New York’s Republican establishment; as of 11:10 p.m. on election night, Zeldin held a substantial 20-point lead over Giuliani, his closest rival.
Zeldin came to national prominence when he participated in former President Donald Trump’s defense during his first impeachment; he also was among the 138 House GOP members who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral votes following the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Zeldin, who has backed a number of local environmental causes during his tenure in Congress, will go on to challenge New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul on November 8, who defeated Rep. Tom Suozzi (R-NY) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in her primary on Tuesday. Hochul is looking to be elected to her first full term in office after taking over for disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in 2021 in the midst of a sexual misconduct scandal.
The overwhelmingly blue New York State has not elected a Republican Governor since George Pataki in 2002, which means that Zeldin will be facing an distinct uphill battle when he faces off against Hochul. However, last month Zeldin claimed that NY residents have reached their “breaking point” with the state’s high taxes and rising crime rates, so it remains to be seen if the challenger will be able to capitalize on that sentiment in November.