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Nearly all New York Republican leaders now back Zeldin for governor

A headshot of Lee Zeldin in front of an American flag
U.S. Congress

A new Marist College poll this week found Kathy Hochul is the current frontrunner for next year’s gubernatorial election, but Rep. Lee Zeldin of eastern Long Island now has support from nearly all state Republican leaders.

That’s after Zeldin secured the Chemung County Republican Committee endorsement this week.

However, Hofstra University Political Scientist Craig Burnett said Zeldin will face long odds against Hochul, as no amount of GOP support can erase Zeldin’s image as a Trump ally in a highly Democratic New York.

“I actually don’t think that policy-wise he is going to be able to really break free from the fact that he is seen, by and large, and I think objectively so, as a pretty big Trump supporter," Burnett said. "And my read on New York state politics is, that is still not going to play very well here in this state. ”

Burnett said Zeldin will have the most trouble appealing to liberal voters.

“In the case of governor, that has to be somebody who can appeal to a fairly broad base of people and one that can actually appeal to a more liberal voter," he said, "and that’s where I actually think that he runs into problems.”

Zeldin seems willing to take the risk because he would lose his congressional seat if he continues to run for governor.