Republican Lee Zeldin: New York Senate Race Would Be ‘Extremely Competitive’ if I Run

Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York, listens during the Republican Jewis
Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said Monday that he is monitoring New York’s senate contest which would be “extremely competitive” if he runs.

Zeldin spoke with Politico’s Bill Mahoney shortly before he attended a dinner for the New York State Federation of Republican Women upstate and said he would be watching the contest in which Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is seeking reelection.

“We’ll keep an eye on the race,” he said. “If we did run, it would be an extremely competitive race.”

Zeldin, who finished his term as U.S. representative in January, was New York’s Republican gubernatorial nominee in last year’s midterm election against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY). Hochul proved victorious with just over 53 percent of the vote, although Zeldin performed better than any Republican gubernatorial nominee in the Empire State since former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) in 2002, as Politico noted.

Breitbart News’s Jacob Bliss noted last month:

Despite losing in the gubernatorial race, he generated a lot of success down the ballot and helped numerous Republicans get elected across the state — including at least ten representatives — which helped the GOP take back the U.S. House of Representatives.

Following the election, Zeldin weighed a potential bid for the Republican National Committee chair but ultimately stayed out of the contest.

While he performed better last year than other statewide Republican candidates in recent history, he noted to Politico that “there’s even more of a Democratic-favored turnout” in presidential years than in midterm elections. In other words, he would likely face an even more difficult pathway to victory than he did last year if he enters the race.

Gillibrand in January invoked Zeldin’s name in a fundraising email, as the Times Union reported, and the two have traded jabs in recent months.

“It was something that I was giving no thought to, but she was trying to fundraise. And the best way to fundraise in the first quarter of 2023 was to speak about a viable opponent,” he told Politico.

In the meantime, Zeldin told Mahoney he is working to help Republicans in local races after they aided him and other New York Republicans in the midterm elections.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.