An event Thursday at JFK Airport highlighted how Governor Kathy Hochul is leveraging her day job against her Republican rival Lee Zeldin while dodging his attacks on rising crime, inflation and dodging debates ahead of the election of November 8.
“We need to make sure this woman gets into this office for good,” NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson said at an official event in Hochul touting the grand opening of a new terminal at the airport. International JFK.
Similar feelings of Labor honcho Gary LaBarbera showed how the incumbent’s credentials boost Hochul’s profile while adding further fuel to accusations that his campaign is crossing boundaries.
“A New Day, A New Way Kathy Hochul is illegally abusing taxpayer resources to revive her failing campaign. Voters are sick of Kickback Kathy’s corruption machine and she’s going to need some real ‘magic’ to stop voters from overthrowing her,” GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said Thursday of the Hall of Fame Laker campaign assistance.
A rapid test company controlled by campaign donors had been paid twice as much as other vendors while raising $637 million in public funds, The Times Union reported Thursday morning in another alleged pay-to- play involving Hochul.
Representatives for his office and campaign did not respond to requests for comment Thursday, though both denied wrongdoing in the past.
The airport event was one of many the governor has held in recent weeks to tout accomplishments in office while surrogates focus on Zeldin, which his campaign has called extreme on issues such as abortion, gun rights and the question of the legitimacy of the 2020 election results.
“[Zeldin] poses a very real threat to our basic rights and our democracy,” Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner thundered Thursday as the state party kicked off a statewide tour on behalf of from Hochul.
Hochul has also channeled other gubernatorial powers in recent months, such as using state-owned planes to return to Buffalo after a campaign event and using state authority money to fund important voter projects she needs this fall.
A poll released last week showed Hochul only had a four-point lead, though other polls suggest she has a much bigger lead over Zeldin, which is facing disadvantages when it comes to data collection. fund and party registration against the Democratic candidate.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave his campaign a helping hand Thursday with a fundraising pitch on his behalf, reigniting a feud with Hochul in the process.
Her busy public schedule as governor comes as she continues to limit her engagements with Zeldin during the campaign trail, the same way former President Bill Clinton once kept his enemies at bay, limiting their ability to inflict damage.
“The Governor benefits from the Rose Garden strategy as an incumbent. And that rose garden stretches down the NYS Thruway to JFK,” political consultant Jake Dilemani told the Post.
With two months until the final votes are cast, Zeldin is keeping his sights set on Hochul – who, after pushing him, said she would debate him but without naming a specific time or place – while continuing the attacks. against it on controversial issues like bail reform and congestion pricing.
Hochul, meanwhile, has avoided the Republican challenger while keeping her cards close on test topics such as the repeal of qualified immunity for cops, which Zeldin opposes.
“Has Magic added an opinion on what it thinks of the rise in crime on the streets under Kathy Hochul’s watch, congestion pricing, or attacks on non-public education?” What does he think about Hochul refusing to accept any request for a debate, about rising energy prices, about New York leading the entire nation in population loss, or about district attorneys like Alvin Bragg refusing to enforce the law? Zeldin campaign spokeswoman Katie Vincentz said Thursday.
“To Save Our State, Hochul’s Gotta Go!” she added.