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Representative Lee Zeldin Attacked Onstage During Campaign Speech

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor of New York, was attacked while delivering a campaign speech outside of Rochester on Thursday evening. A man climbed onstage and attempted to stab Zeldin with a pointed weapon, pulling him to the ground before bystanders helped subdue him. Zeldin was unharmed and continued giving his speech as the man was taken into custody.

Video of the incident shows a man in a baseball hat slowly approach Zeldin while he addresses a small crowd in Fairport, New York, from the back of a truck. The man says “You’re done” several times, then grabs Zeldin by the arm and brandishes a weapon. The two men struggle for a moment, then the attacker is subdued by several bystanders and members of Zeldin’s team, including his running mate, former NYPD deputy inspector Alison Esposito.

State GOP chair Nick Langworthy told the New York Post that Zeldin had “just a little scrape” following the attack, and the congressman confirmed that he and other attendees were safe.

David Jakubonis, 43 of Fairport, New York, was arraigned overnight on a count of second-degree attempted assault. As Zeldin had predicted on Twitter hours earlier, he was released on his own recognizance.

Zeldin, 42, is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq. He has represented Long Island in Congress since 2015 and is a staunch Trump supporter, having voted against certifying the 2020 election results. He has made rising crime a central focus of his campaign.

Governor Kathy Hochul, Zeldin’s opponent, tweeted that she was relieved that he was not harmed.

Langworthy, the state GOP chair, has called on Hochul to issue Zeldin a security detail for the rest of the campaign. “This could have gone a lot worse. This could have really ended in a horrible way tonight and this is unacceptable,” he said, per NBC New York.

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Rep. Lee Zeldin Attacked Onstage During Campaign Speech