Former Democrat NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind Endorses Lee Zeldin

Republican candidate for New York Governor Congressman Lee Zeldin, center, speaks to repor
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Former New York state assemblyman and “lifelong Democrat” Dov Hikind threw his support behind Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, who is campaigning to be governor of New York, arguing that only Zeldin can “save our state” from the “disastrous” Democrat governor as well as the “rampant” crime and “tanking” economy.

Hikind, who served as assistant majority leader in the Democratic-controlled state legislature, recently announced his support for Zeldin, a Republican congressman from Long Island, claiming it was preferable to casting a vote for “the disastrous Kathy Hochul.” He says he is “sick and tired of rampant crime and the Democrats’ hurtful economic policies.”

On the latest episode of his eponymous YouTube show, Hikind called on fellow New Yorkers to take advantage of the “historic opportunity” next month to “defeat the radical policies of the Democrat Party” in New York. 

Despite being a longtime Democrat, Hikind warned that without change there would be “no future” for the residents of New York state.

“I’m not speaking as a lifelong Democrat, but as a concerned New Yorker who knows that if we do not make change to our leadership, there is no future for our kids, our families in this great state,” he said.

Claiming that Gov. Hochul “has failed us on every single level,” Hikind stated she is “hiding” from crucial issues.

“You can’t even find her, she’s hiding,” he said. “Does anyone have any clue where she is on the most important issues?”

The former assembly member then described local crime as “out of control.” 

“You and I watch our television, we watch the newspapers, we see innocent people being victimized every single day,” he said. 

“Crime is out of control at levels that we have not seen in 30, 40 years,” he added. “Out of control.”

Hikind also highlighted the “tanking” economy.

“The economy is tanking and Gov. Hochul, what are her policies, do you have any idea?” he asked. “She has spent $20 million in this campaign. Do you have any clue what she has done or what she’s going to do if she’s elected governor?”

“No idea, no one has a clue. No one has any idea,” he added.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during her primary election night party, Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during her primary election night party, Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Hikind, a renowned Jewish rights activist and founder of the advocacy group Americans Against Antisemitism, argued there is “no choice” but to support Zelden for governor of New York. 

“If nothing else, Zeldin has committed to declare a crime emergency and suspend the bail laws that are so popular with criminals, that put criminals back into the streets, people arrested 10,15, 20 times — victimizing New Yorkers, victimizing our neighbors, our friends, our communities,” he said. 

“Zelden will deal with that on day one,” he added.

Hikind also praised Zeldin for his commitment to “remove District Attorney [Alvin] Bragg in Manhattan, who shows more compassion for criminals than he does for the innocent victims of crime.”

“I mean that’s enough for me, I don’t need anything more,” he added. “You have DA Bragg, he is a disaster — all the criminals are voting for him.”

Calling for “change,” Hikind claimed Zeldin is the “answer” to the state’s problems.

“Things cannot continue as they are because if they do, you and I both know that there is no future in this great state of ours, and Lee Zeldin is the answer,” he said.

Hikind concluded by suggesting the issue is beyond political affiliations.

“This is not about being a Democrat, Republican, independent — it’s irrelevant,” he said. “We need to vote for the person who will make a difference, who will save our state — and that is Lee Zeldin.”

A new poll from Tuesday revealed Zeldin is within “striking distance” of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in New York’s gubernatorial race as crime is ranked as voters’ top issue heading into election day.

In the final weeks of the gubernatorial race, Zeldin is running just four points behind Hochul, who takes 50 percent to the Republican congressman’s 46 percent, the Quinnipiac University poll shows, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

This represents a major shift in favor of Zeldin, as a Marist College poll released last week found the Republican behind by ten percentage points. Likewise, days ago, election analysts at RealClearPolitics moved the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-up.”

Most significantly, Zeldin leads Hochul, 57 percent to 37 percent, among swing voters, and he leads upstate New York voters with 52 percent to Hochul’s 44 percent. 

In deeply liberal New York City, Hochul leads with 59 percent to Zeldin’s 37 percent.

In 2019, Democrats across New York passed a so-called “No Bail” law that eliminated bail for a number of criminal suspects accused of committing crimes like second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, third-degree assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, and aggravated vehicular homicide, among others.

As a result, New York has seen a skyrocketing crime wave where repeat offenders are continuously arrested and released from police custody.

In September, crime continued to rise in New York City — increasing more than 15 percent compared to the same time last year. Most prominently, grand larcenies increased by over 20 percent, burglaries increased by nearly 23 percent, and robberies increased by about 16.4 percent.

While Zeldin has vowed to overturn the bail law, Hochul has continued championing its main provisions while telling New Yorkers to stop blaming the law for the rise in crime.

In August, Hikind blasted Gov. Hochul for “trying to score political points with the progressive flank of the Democratic Party” after she used a Holocaust education event to attack Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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