Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York has been vowing for months that he’d fire New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg on his first day as governor if he defeats Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in November’s election.
So, it’s no surprise that Zeldin, a conservative congressman who represents the eastern half of New York’s Long Island, is highlighting that pledge in his first general election ad since winning the GOP gubernatorial nomination in New York’s June 28 primary.
The spot, which the Zeldin campaign tells Fox News it’s spending an initial five-figures to run digitally statewide as part of an eventual seven-figure ad blitz, highlights the murder charge against New York City bodega worker Jose Alba for fatally stabbing a man who had attacked him on the job. The case against Alba has grabbed plenty of media attention in New York, with a chorus of calls for the murder charges to be dropped.
Bragg’s also faced criticism for a memo he issued earlier this year instructing city prosecutors to avoid arrests on a list of criminal offenses, a position he partially walked back. The controversies over the memo and the Alba case have sparked calls for Hochul to invoke state constitutional powers, which would give her the power to remove Bragg from office.
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“Despite the pleas of New Yorkers, Hochul has refused to use her authority as governor to fire Bragg,” the narrator in the ad charges.
The spot incudes clips of Zeldin pledging to fire Bragg, including one in a Fox News interview last week, and the narrator argues that Zeldin’s “backed by the people across New York tired of living in fear and tired of soft-on-crime liberal polices like Kathy Hochul, Alvin Bragg, and the ‘defund the police’ crowd.”
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Hochul on Wednesday in a statement on Twitter highlighted that she’s working “to end the epidemic of gun violence in New York and create a safer state for all.”
As she landed the endorsement of the Brady PAC, which works to elect “gun violence prevention champions,” the governor noted that “it’s been a decade since the horrific mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and there is still so much work to do to end the epidemic of gun violence. I’m working every day to get dangerous weapons off our streets and keep our communities safe.”
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Zeldin topped the field in last month’s Republican primary that included Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive and 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee; Andrew Giuliani, who served in former President Donald Trump’s administration and is the son of former New York City mayor and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; and Harry Wilson, a businessman, investor and restructuring expert who poured millions of his own money into his gubernatorial bid.
Hochul – the state’s former lieutenant governor who was sworn in last August as New York’s first female governor, after three-term Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals – easily defeated primary rivals Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams.
Public polls conducted ahead of last month’s primary indicated Hochul holding a large lead over Zeldin. The incumbent also enjoys a formidable fundraising advantage over the GOP nominee.
Then-Gov. George Pataki’s 2002 reelection 20 years ago was the last time a Republican won a gubernatorial election in the blue state of New York.