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GOP Closing In On New York’s Governor Race, Democrats In Full Blown Panic Mode

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Democrats are scrambling in the 11th hour as gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-NY) closes in on what may be the biggest upset the country has seen since George Pataki (R-NY) beat Mario Cuomo (D-NY) in 1994 for NY State governor.

Democrats are losing their minds that Republicans could actually upset 20 years of radical precedent in New York and see a GOP candidate elected to the governor’s mansion.

While New York’s gubernatorial seat was presumed to be a land-slide win for Democrats in the deep-blue state, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) double-digit lead over Republican contender Lee Zeldin had plumetted to single digits in recent weeks as the Republican hopeful hammers her over hot-button issues like crime and inflation. Kathy Hochul assumed she had the election in the bag with abortion, but the issue seems to be fading nationwide for Democrats in general and is just not as important to voters as they thought it might be.

The Kathy Hochul camp is so worried about losing that she even described herself last week as the “underdog” in the race hoping to rally voters in order to prevent an upset.

According to The Hill, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) took the unusual step to create a super PAC to give the governor a last-minute boost. And while Democrats still believe Hochul will pull through victorious in the election next week, they are finally conceding it could be much closer than originally expected.

“I’m worried, I think every Democrat should be worried,” said Rich Azzopardi, founder, and principal of Bulldog Strategies, about the state of the gubernatorial race.

“People think crime is out of control … Most Democrats have combatted that with stats showing that in fact that is not, but if people don’t feel physically safe or economically secure you can’t show them stats to talk their way out of it,” Azzopardi, who still serves as a spokesman for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), added separately.

Republicans, including Zeldin, have seized on the issue of crime, including related issues like bail reform. Zeldin’s campaign has drawn attention to incidents on the subway as well as a shooting that took place outside of his own residence while his daughters were home doing homework just feet away inside.

“If you look at this … ‘93 [Rudy] Giuliani gets elected Mayor of New York [City]. Why? Crime. Following year [George] Pataki runs on reinstating the death penalty. There were other issues, obviously [Mario] Cuomo had already been governor for 12 years. People get a little tired of anybody who’s governor that long, but crime certainly was a factor in him getting elected,” said Thomas Doherty, who served as an aide to former Gov. George Patacki (R).

“If you look at like the Dem primary, Eric Adams… when he won the Democratic primary, he was sort of seen as the Democrat who was a former police officer.”

Polling shows crime is a very important issue for voters. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month showed likely voters ranking crime as their top urgent issue at 28 percent, while an Emerson College Polling-Pix11-The Hill New York poll released on Tuesday ranked crime third at 13 percent among respondents.

“The story of the 2022 election could be that Democrats overestimated how much voters cared about the events of Jan. 6 and the ties to Donald Trump of Republicans like Mr. Zeldin. In fact, by constructing a campaign around those concerns — and not the threats posed by crime, inflation and immigration — Ms. Hochul and other Democrats nationwide are at real risk of not facing up to the mood of the electorate at a time of pressure and fear,” wrote pollster Mark Penn in a guest essay for The New York Times published on Monday.

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