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Monday, December 5, 2022

Hochul and Zeldin Have One Last Stand in an Unpredictable Race Before Election Day

New YorkHochul and Zeldin Have One Last Stand in an Unpredictable Race Before Election Day

On the night of Election Day, Governor Kathy Hochul and her Republican opponent, Representative Lee M. Zeldin, raced around New York City and its suburbs, making last pleas to voters in a campaign that has grown unexpectedly close.

After a weekend filled with appearances alongside President Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and a slew of Democratic luminaries, Ms. Hochul concentrated her campaign on a series of stops in Manhattan on Monday, arguing that victory was mathematically assured in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.

During a visit to a senior housing complex on the Upper West Side, Ms. Hochul said, “If Democrats vote, we will surely win.”

Mr. Zeldin, a congressman from Long Island who ran a vigorous campaign attacking Ms. Hochul on crime and economic woes, continued to focus on public safety on his last day in office, visiting the site of a recent stabbing in the Bronx in order to criticise the governor, whom he claimed was not doing enough to stop violence in the city.

Mr. Zeldin said, “New Yorkers from all walks of life are coming together to reclaim our streets and subways.” “This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. This is about all of us coming together.”

According to Mr. Zeldin, such nonpartisan discourse seemed to be geared at independents as well as inhabitants of moderate suburbs and more conservative upstate regions.

Ms. Hochul seemed more focused on maximising votes in New York City, a liberal stronghold and linchpin of political triumphs in the state, as well as in upstate urban regions like Buffalo, her birthplace and the state’s second biggest city, where she planned to rally on Monday evening.

She scheduled Tuesday appearances at New York City restaurants and subway stations, including a visit at the Woodside station in Queens with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other local political figures.

Monday, with early voting over, both camps analysed preliminary voter turnout figures for positive and bad omens, with each side finding both.

Preliminary numbers from the State Board of Elections indicate that almost 1.2 million individuals voted early statewide, a significant decrease from 2020, a presidential election year in which voter turnout is normally greater than in midterms. Comparatively, around 2.5 million New Yorkers voted early in 2020, according to the board, resulting in a reduction of almost 53 percent in 2022.

Low voter participation in the city might aid Republicans, who may also gain from historical trends that tend to favour the party that does not control the White House, where President Biden’s support ratings are middling. Nationally, Republicans are optimistic about recapturing the House of Representatives and potentially the Senate, with elections in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania being carefully monitored.

In New York, however, some believe that Ms. Hochul’s campaign has reason for optimism given the relatively low early voting figures. Less than 10 percent of the city’s more than five million registered voters are Republicans or Conservative Party members, accounting for about 37 percent of those who voted.

Staten Island, the most conservative borough in the city, would also be crucial to attaining the 30 percent goal. Early data indicates that just approximately 36,000 people cast early ballots, or about one-third of the 2020 total.

On Monday, Mr. Zeldin emphasised the need of gaining the support of a substantial number of New York City voters.

There were also signs of support for Mr. Zeldin on Long Island, notably in his home district of Suffolk, where about 100,000 votes had been cast as of Sunday.

Simultaneously, the New York State Democratic Party cited early voting figures from its voter files, indicating that 60 percent of voters were Democrats and 56 percent were women. These data may indicate a possible edge for Ms. Hochul, the state’s first female governor and a staunch advocate for abortion rights, an issue that favours her party.

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the State Democratic Party, expressed cautious optimism.

Mr. Jacobs said, “We do not know what will occur tomorrow when the majority of people cast their ballots.” However, I prefer these numbers over any other numbers.

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