Lee Zeldin for Governor

It may be early for an endorsement. Then again, too, we have seen enough of Governor Hochul to conclude that Mr. Zeldin is the right choice for any New Yorker looking for higher wages, lower taxes, safer streets, better schools, less regulation, and more freedom.

Brittainy Newman/Newsday via AP, pool, file
Congressman Lee Zeldin during a Republican gubernatorial debate, June 20, 2022. Brittainy Newman/Newsday via AP, pool, file

When New Yorkers go to the polls on November 8, the Sun urges a vote for Lee Zeldin. It may be early for an endorsement. Then again, too, we have seen enough of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s former partner in politics, Governor Hochul, to conclude that Mr. Zeldin is the right choice for any New Yorker looking, as we are, for higher wages, lower taxes, safer streets, better schools, less regulation, and more freedom. 

To those who hang back because they fear Mr. Zeldin can’t win, consider some recent history. We still remember the 2006 gubernatorial election, when no one gave Congressman John Faso, one of New York’s finest public servants, a chance. He’d been minority leader in the Assembly and, in 2002, was almost elected state comptroller, only to be defeated by Alan Hevesi, who soon ended up a convicted felon for corruption.

In 2006, Mr. Faso ran for governor. No one gave him a snowball’s chance in Hades of defeating the state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer. We endorsed Mr. Faso anyhow — the only daily in the city to do so. Mr. Faso lost in a landslide. Mr. Spitzer eventually quit in disgrace, after being identified, in a prostitution investigation,  as Client 9. We have never felt better about an endorsement than ours of Mr. Faso.

Mr. Zeldin, though, is polling far better than Mr. Faso was polling in the race against Mr. Spitzer in 2006. Of the six polls cited in RealClearPolitics, the average puts Ms. Hochul only ten points ahead of Mr. Zeldin. The Trafalgar poll of late August and early September puts him only five points behind. Another recent poll puts him within six points. It’s a stretch, but not impossible, that an upset could be building.

Mr. Zeldin is certainly better than Ms. Hochul on policy. This starts with crime. Mr. Zeldin would give judges the discretion to set bail, remove prosecutors who aren’t prepared to enforce the law, expand the police force, keep qualified immunity for our officers, improve prisons, overhaul parole, and strengthen victims rights. It’s the Democrats who have made the crisis in crime.

On the economy, Mr. Zeldin pledges to cut taxes, energy costs, and regulation. Our estimate is that Ms. Hochul would continue to drive rich New Yorkers out of the state; we’ve heard estimates of the wealth that has decamped to Florida in recent years as high as $1 trillion. It is a tragedy for the state that can be laid entirely at the feet of the Democrats, and Mr. Zeldin gets this issue clearly.

On freedom issues, Mr. Zeldin wants to end the Covid mandates, reinstate religious exemption for vaccines, defend free speech from Big Tech, repeal the Cuomo restrictions on guns and protect the ability of New Yorkers to bear arms. The Democrats’ defiance of the overturning of the Sullivan law is shocking. Even after the Supreme Court acted, the Second Amendment doesn’t apply in the Empire State.

Mr. Zeldin is better on education. He would remove mask mandates, expand charter schools and advanced education, improve technical job training, support home-schooling, and promote civics. He is more likely than Ms. Hochul to defend the rights of chasidic Jews to exercise their religious free exercise rights in their schools. The Democrats have run our failing public schools for decades.

Mr. Zeldin made a terrific impression last week, when he joined a gathering of Sun members and was interviewed onstage by our Caroline Vik. We were impressed by his intellectual depth, values, and personality — grounded, humble, authentic, and notably kind — and the fact that he’s an officer of the Army, having been on active duty for four years and now in the reserves. He understands taxes and would be better than any Democrat in respect of the fisc.

More broadly, Mr. Zeldin’s campaign for governor represents the best chance right now to end one-party rule in the state of New York. The Democrats’ hold on all three branches of the state government and both houses of its legislature marks nothing so much as the danger of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Mr. Zeldin is the best bet in starting the process of reform.

The New York Sun

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