- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2022

NEW YORK — Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul claims her GOP challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin is “hyperventilating” over the crime problems in the state.

During a campaign stop Monday at the 72nd Street subway station in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Mrs. Hochul said Mr. Zeldin has been “trying to scare people for months” over the crime issue.

“And New Yorkers are on to it,” the governor said. “All the legitimate media organizations have called him out for what he is doing — fear-mongering,” she said. “That’s not just here in New York. That has been the Republican playbook all across this country.”

Asked by The Washington Times why her campaign has taken a “mocking tone” with New Yorkers who have experienced legitimate fear about crime in the city, particularly in the subways, Mrs. Hochul called that “an absurd assessment.”

“We have been in the subway,” she said. “I stood there with Mayor Adams just a few days ago, talking about an intelligent plan, not just to scare people to say that’s over here. And you can scare people, but I’m working on a real solution,” referring to her announcement with Mr. Adams in late October known as the “Cops, Cameras, Care” initiative.

The plan includes the state-run MTA Police Department and the NYPD combining forces to add 1,200 extra overtime shifts daily to patrol the subway system.

Mrs. Hochul has been inviting high-profile Democratic luminaries to help her on the campaign trail. Mr. Zeldin criticized the Hochul camp over remarks made by former President Bill Clinton, who stumped for Mrs. Hochul on Friday.

The former president joked that Mr. Zeldin “makes it sound like Kathy Hochul gets up every morning, goes to the nearest subway stop and hands out billy clubs [and] baseball bats.”

Mr. Zeldin and his running mate, Alison Esposito, plan to criticize Mr. Clinton Monday at the scene of a recent subway station stabbing in the Bronx for “joking and laughing about skyrocketing subway crime in New York City at a Kathy Hochul event.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, New York Republican, taunted Mrs. Hochul‘s ride on the subway on Thursday, tweeting, “I’m sure you felt safe riding the subway with your police detail.”

Mr. Zeldin has been hammering the governor for her response to the rising crime in New York. When a violent crime has occurred in the state, Mr. Zeldin, who has made law and order a central theme of his campaign, appears at the site of the incident the following day to talk to residents in the area.

The strategy appears to have paid off, and Mr. Zeldin has managed to reduce his 24-point deficit in the polls just months ago to as little as four points in one recent poll.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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