Exclusive — Lee Zeldin: My Campaign Is a ‘Rescue Mission’; New Yorkers Say, ‘If You Don’t Win, I’m Leaving’

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, center, walks to the stage before speaking to delegates and assembled party officials at the 2022 NYGOP Convention, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Garden City, N.Y. Republicans from across New York met Tuesday to choose their gubernatorial nominee to run against Gov. Kathy Hochul in November. …
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) told Breitbart News Daily‘s special guest host, Jonathan Gilliam, on Friday that his campaign for New York governor is a “rescue mission” for the Empire State.

Zeldin noted the exodus of New Yorkers fleeing the state because of onerous taxation, regulation, and, more recently, restrictions marketed as “public health” measures to reduce coronavirus transmission.

“There are no rallies that are going on Down [South] today where everyone’s talking about how they hit their breaking point and they’re moving to New York. Everybody is going the opposite direction,” he remarked. New York is “leading the whole country in population loss because of these policies. You could be making 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars a year in New York, and while that might help you survive – you might even be on maybe the lower end of middle income in some states – in New York, if you have a kid, you have two kids, you’re married, you have a house, you have bills to pay –  you’re feeling like you’re living life in poverty.”

He continued, “For us in New York, I feel truly like the state is hitting a breaking point, and I’ve had every single day – every day – I have New Yorkers tell me, ‘If you don’t win, I’m leaving.’ There are days where it happens a dozen times during the day. So I feel like I can effect the change to save this state. As one person said to me — and he was right when he said it — ‘This isn’t some regular campaign. This is a rescue mission.'”

People queue in the departure hall of Terminal 7 at JFK airport on March 15, 2020, in New York City (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images).

New York lost a higher share of its population to internal migration within the U.S. than any other state, the Daily Gazette reported in December, citing U.S. Census Bureau data. The state “lost more residents than any other state,” it wrote, adding, “New York state’s population is estimated to have declined by 319,020 or 1.6% in the year, the largest numeric and percentage loss of any state.”

The Empire Center also assessed New York’s population decline in December. It wrote, “The Empire State’s July 1, 2020 population of 19,336,776 was down 126,355, or 0.65 percent, from the estimated level of a year earlier, the estimates indicate. In both absolute and percentage terms, New York’s population drop in 2019-20 was the biggest among 16 states.”

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