Kathy Hochul says political rivals like Lee Zeldin ought to leave state

Kathy Hochul says political rivals like Lee Zeldin ought to leave state


Gov. Kathy Hochul sparked controversy Monday night by saying political opponents like Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin ought to ditch New York as she rallied with fellow Democrats ahead of a special election in Congressional District 19 in the Hudson Valley.

“We are fighting for democracy. We’re fighting to bring government back to the people and out of the hands of dictators,” Hochul said at a Monday evening rally in Kingston alongside Democratic congressional candidate Pat Ryan, where she called out his Republican opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Zeldin and former President Donald Trump.

Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul introduces Pat Ryan during a campaign rally on Aug. 22.
AP/Mary Altaffer
Kathy Hochul
Hochul supports Ryan’s election as he runs against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in the race.
AP/Mary Altaffer

“Trump and Zeldin and Molinaro – just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong. OK? Get out of town. Because you don’t represent our values,” added Hochul, who raised eyebrows last week for a dig against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Manhattan event commemorating the Holocaust.

Ryan, the Ulster County executive, is running against Molinaro in a race that will test competing messaging by Democrats and the GOP on issues like abortion and inflation.

“Wow @KathyHochul. You’re losing your marbles lady. Won’t take you up on your psycho demand to leave New York, but what I will do is get in my car right now, drive to NY-19, & do everything in my power to make sure @marcmolinaro wins tomorrow’s Special Election,” Zeldin tweeted Monday night.

While Molinaro has focused on issues like rising prices and opposing bail reform amid rising crime, Ryan has sought to channel Democratic outrage against controversial US Supreme Court decisions on abortion and gun rights into a winning message against Molinaro.

But efforts by Hochul – who came to office last year vowing to make state politics more collegial – on Monday night to label Molinaro, a moderate Republican best known for his losing 2018 campaign against ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as too extreme, provoked a fierce response from other conservatives as well.

“Really, @KathyHochul? I’m not a New Yorker!? You sound exactly likely your predecessor. I lost my father in this state, raise my children here and have given every day in service to my community. Disagree with your corrupted government, and we are not New Yorkers? #Shameful,” Molinaro tweeted Monday in response to her comments.

Polls have suggested a tight race between Molinaro and Ryan to fill the remainder of the term won by Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in 2020.

Kathy hochul and Pat Ryan
The NY Governor was not afraid to attack her opponents directly, telling them to get out.
AP/Mary Altaffer

The winner of the race will serve in Congress until just the end of the year while securing bragging rights for their party ahead of midterm elections this November when control of Congress, the state Legislature and statewide officers will be on the ballot.

Hochul has campaigned with a similar approach to Ryan by betting her political future on issues like abortion, gun control and Zeldin’s votes against certifying the 2020 presidential results from certain states.

But even before election results come in, the first female governor in state history has a message for political opponents who don’t share her believes on issues like abortion rights have no place in the Empire State.

“You’re not New Yorkers, because we come from a long line of people who fought for women’s rights that happened here first,” she said Monday.


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