Rep. Lee Zeldin has won New York’s Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, according to a projection from Decision Desk HQ.
Decision Desk HQ projects Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) is the winner of the Republican nomination for Governor in New York.
Race call: 10:03pm EDT
Follow more results here: https://t.co/29otf0p5Bn
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) June 29, 2022
Zeldin defeated a crowded field of Republican challengers, including Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Democrat donor Harry Wilson, and Rob Astorino.
Zeldin’s victory on Tuesday night comes after he maintained a double-digit lead across recent polls. The Long Island-based U.S. Representative was considered the clear favorite in the race after winning New York GOP’s nomination at the party’s state convention earlier in the year.
Although former President Donald Trump did not endorse a candidate ahead of Tuesday night’s primary, Zeldin received former Vice President Mike Pence’s endorsement less than one week ago.
When Zeldin began his campaign for New York governor 14 months ago, the race looked much different than it did now. Initially, Zeldin was poised to face former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo if he secured the GOP nomination.
Now, Zeldin will face New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who became the state’s governor last August after Cuomo resigned in disgrace following sexual harassment allegations. Zeldin will have a lot of fundraising ground to make up going into November, as Hochul is exiting the primaries with a nearly $11 million campaign cash difference.
Hochul came under fire last month after she got the state legislature to change its election laws to allow former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin to be removed from the ballot following his criminal indictment.
Despite Astorino’s prior political experience, Giuliani’s name recognition, and Wilson’s millions of dollars in self-funding, Zeldin was always confident that he would come out of the primary as New York’s Republican nominee for governor.
“When we got to the point where I was announcing on April, 8 2021, my team and I, we had already planned from victory backwards,” Zeldin told Politico. “We had aspects of the campaign plan for Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 of 2022.”
“We thought through this race from 100,000 different dimensions and — it’s in our TV ads. I’ve said it during rallies. I feel it personally even when I don’t express it publicly: I’m all in; losing this race is not an option,” Zeldin added. “I believe that winning this race for us is the only option, and every day that goes by I am more confident in the plan.”
After graduating from Albany Law School at age 23, Zeldin enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served four years on active duty, including a tour in Iraq in 2006. After his military service, Zeldin ventured into politics.
Zeldin defeated an incumbent Democrat in 2010 when he was elected to New York’s Senate. Zeldin again triumphed over an incumbent Democrat in 2014 when he joined the U.S. House of Representatives.
On the campaign trail, Zeldin has pledged to cut New York State taxes, opposed “woke indoctrination” in New York public schools, and promised to remove Soros-funded Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
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