Crime-focused campaign falls flat in NY governor race


NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Throughout the midterm elections, the rise in violent crime across the U.S. was a hot topic and one of the top issues that voters cared about.

A NewsNation Decision Desk HQ poll of registered voters found that crime was the second issue most Americans were weighing behind inflation as they decided who to cast their ballots for.

As many Democrats worked to harness outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Republicans tapped the national playbook to focus on crime in cities; however, that wasn’t the case for every state.

In New York, crime became a big issue in New York’s gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul and Long Island Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin.

For most of the campaign, Hochul had a comfortable lead, but a few weeks before the election, she started losing ground.

Zeldin was able to use crime as an issue to shift the momentum of the campaign and close the gap. He portrayed Hochul as a governor who was out of touch and allowed crime to get out of control on her watch, using the New York City subway system as an example where crime is up substantially.

Zeldin’s plan worked, as he came close to passing Hochul in the polls; but in the end, Zeldin didn’t garner enough votes to compete with the overwhelming number of Democratic voters in New York City and across the state who chose Hochul, making her the first woman elected governor in the state.

“I’m not here to make history; I’m here to make a difference. And because of all of you, we’ll keep making progress — breaking down barriers, breaking glass ceilings, helping New Yorkers achieve the greatness that it is capable of,” Hochul said.

Zeldin called Hochul to congratulate her Wednesday and released a statement saying, “Congratulations to Kathy Hochul on her election to a full term. this once in a generation campaign was a very close margin in the bluest of states.”

Hochul says she wants to build more affordable housing, fix broken schools around the state and bring more jobs to New York as she prepared for her first full term in office.

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