early and often

With Zeldin Catching Up, Hochul Goes Hard on Crime

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, a series of polls appeared to show Kathy Hochul’s lead shrinking as she seeks a full term as governor. In a Quinnipiac University poll of the race between Hochul and Republican Lee Zeldin, 28 percent of likely voters surveyed named crime as the most urgent issue facing the state.

The Hochul campaign downplayed the polling in a statement. But since then, it has focused almost exclusively on the issues of crime and public safety with two weeks to go until Election Day. First came a new ad last week that talked about her “comprehensive crime plan,” saying the legislation strengthened bail laws, tackled illegal guns, and worked to help the unhoused and those struggling with mental health. “You deserve to feel safe, and as your governor, I won’t stop working until you do,” Hochul said in the clip.

Then Hochul joined Mayor Eric Adams to announce a plan intended to increase police presence in the city’s subway system. They announced a three-pronged plan called “Cops, Cameras, Care” to address crimes within the subway. The plan entails increasing the number of NYPD and MTA officers at stations and on trains, continuing to install cameras in subway cars as announced by Hochul last month, and creating two new in-patient psychiatric units to assist those in the subway and on the street who might need mental-health care.

Zeldin, who has tried to link Hochul to the increase of violent crime on the subway system, told the New York Post that Hochul was only taking the issue seriously because of his rise in the polls. “Why is Kathy Hochul waiting until the day after the first poll that says we’re in the lead — two and a half weeks before the election — before she’s doing this?” he said.

On Monday, Hochul was joined by Attorney General Letitia James to talk about the state’s “red flag” law intended to keep firearms out of the hands of people who might be a danger to themselves or others. Hochul signed an expansion of the law following the racist massacre at a Buffalo grocery store in the spring and said that, since then, more than 400 orders of protection have been issued per month on average, compared to around 45 each month prior. “It’s undeniable progress in just four months, and it means our red-flag laws are working,” she said.

Hochul and Zeldin will appear for their first and only debate on Tuesday evening.

With Zeldin Catching Up, Hochul Goes Hard on Crime