Hochul, like other Democrats across the country, has spent much of the campaign focused on abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. A new campaign mailer from New York Democrats depicts an OBGYN from Buffalo who is “terrified for the women of New York that Lee Zeldin could become governor.”
Hochul is facing an unexpectedly close race in Democratic-heavy New York with most polls showing her with leads of between 4 percentage points and 11 percentage points. That’s too close for comfort in a state that has twice as many Democrats as Republicans and hasn’t elected a GOP candidate statewide in two decades.
That has forced her party to bring in some of its most prized campaign surrogates to aid Hochul in a race many had written off as an easy victory for Democrats; President Joe Biden has visited New York twice over the past month to highlight the state’s economic development efforts.
“The Republicans make no secret about what they want,” Clinton said. “They actually say the quiet part out loud. And Lee Zeldin and the Republicans, along with Trump and their allies, are literally fighting tooth and nail to turn back the clock. Of course they want to turn back the clock on abortion. They’ve spent 50 years trying to make that happen.”
Zeldin has seized on voters’ concerns about crime and the state’s high cost of living, estimating it will top abortion rights and threats to democracy as the top issues on Election Day. The Long Island congressman opposes abortion, but he has vowed to not try to repeal New York’s abortion access laws, which are among the most robust in the nation. Hochul further strengthened them soon after the court struck down Roe in June.
“I have been highlighting the basic point that New York a few years ago codified far more than Roe, that when we woke up a day after the Dobbs decision, the law in New York was exactly the same as it was before, and I’m not going to change it,” Zeldin said in an interview Saturday.
Hochul contends that voters shouldn’t buy it — pointing to the GOP-appointed Supreme Court justices who promised not to touch abortion rights, only to overturn Roe.
“I’ve heard my opponent say, ‘Oh, don’t worry, the day after the Dobbs decision nothing changed in the state of New York, so don’t worry,’” Hochul told the crowd. “You know why nothing changed in the state of New York? Because I’m the governor.”
She has sought to beat back the criticism on her crime agenda by crisscrossing New York City and her own flurry of ads on her criminal justice record. But she also continues to focus on New York’s protection of abortion rights — hoping to replicate Democrats’ success over the summer in an upstate New York House victory and in other races across the nation where abortion was a motivating factor, including in Kansas, where an anti-abortion constitutional amendment was rejected.