2022 General Election Roundup: Hochul has huge fundraising, spending edge over Zeldin

Hochul, Zeldin
Governor Kathy Hochul (left) and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin.
Photos courtesy of Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul and Zeldin for New York

Zeldin trails Hochul in fundraising and spending

With two months to go until the Nov. 8 general election, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul has a clear fundraising and spending advantage over her opponent Long Island GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin in the race to be New York’s next top executive.

Zeldin has doubled down on his allegiance to former President Donald Trump, who headlined a lucrative campaign fundraiser for him last weekend. The $1.5 million haul from the event will help Zeldin make up some of the gaping fundraising chasm between himself and Hochul – who had an over $10 million advantage as of the last filing period with the state Board of Elections (BOE) in mid-July. 

Zeldin even said this week that he’d campaign alongside Trump in the run up to the November election, pointing to rising crime and inflation as issues animating many Democrats and Independents.

Katie Vincentz, Zeldin’s campaign spokesperson, declined to reveal to PoliticsNY how much campaign cash he’s brought in since July, but said he’ll “have all of the resources he needs” to win in November.

Vincentz also took aim at Hochul’s campaign finance practices, which have come into question in several published reports, as “pay to play corruption.”

The Times Union reported Thursday that Hochul paid a company run by donors to her campaign that produces COVID-19 at-home rapid tests twice as much as other vendors. Plus, last week the New York Times reported Hochul has accepted $400,000 in campaign contributions from appointees to state boards, despite a longstanding executive order she signed earlier this year banning the practice.

Hochul’s office and campaign have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Hochul’s campaign has continued to lob broadsides at Zeldin for tying himself so closely to Trump. Her campaign launched a $2 million ad buy this week blasting the congress member for voting against certifying the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden just hours after a mob of Trump supporters, trying to overturn the results of the election in Trump’s favor, stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Shortly before post time, an Emerson College/PIX11/The Hill poll showed Hochul with a 15-point lead over Zeldin, which comes on the heals of another poll last weekend that only gave the governor a four-point advantage.

Do GOP Assembly candidates have a shot in southern Brooklyn?

In southern Brooklyn, trouble may be afoot for three Assembly Democratic incumbents running in districts where surging crime is the top issue, at least according to GOP political strategist Lucretia Regina-Potter.

Regina-Potter is serving as campaign director for Alec Brook-Krasny, who once represented the 46th Assembly District Assembly District and came back to politics to challenge Democratic incumbent Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus. She said she believes people in the 46th AD – which covers areas from Coney Island to Bay Ridge – are “fed up” with the state legislature’s 2019 bail reforms that eliminated cash bail for most non-violent misdemeanors and some felonies, which many blame for the rise in crime over the past couple of years.

“I think people are just fed up with the whole bail reform and the crime and the safety in our streets,” Regina-Potter said. “You open a newspaper and hear about somebody getting pushed in front of a train or somebody getting shot from a fist fight and nothing happens to the perpetrators, nothing happens. They’re out with no bail the next day or a few hours later doing recidivism.”

Besides opposition to bail reform being a winning issue for Krasny, Regina-Potter said, he also has high name recognition in the district as its former representative who left office in 2015 due to a personal matter. And as a Russian immigrant, she added, he’s able to connect with the people of the majority immigrant district.

“He has very good name recognition throughout the district,” Regina-Potter said. “He’s very popular. As a matter of fact, we go to an event, he’s like a rock star because everybody knows him.”

“It’s [the] United Nations in the district,” she added. “And he relates to them on that level because he knows what it’s like and they know what it’s like to come here from another country.”

But Frontus is still the incumbent and looks to have strong support in the district coming out of the heated primary where she ultimately beat back challenger Dionne Brown-Jordan by an almost 2-1 margin. Frontus, who’s running for her third term in office, handily won the primary despite a barrage of attacks against her and the fact that Brown-Jordan had the backing of powerful local Democrats like former City Council Member Mark Treyger and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

“I’m not going to lie to you. This race was tough and emotionally taxing,” Frontus wrote on Facebook after winning the primary.

“Although Coney Island has four elected representatives, I have often found myself standing alone when fighting for certain quality of life issues such as the dredging related pollution which took place at Coney Island Creek,” she added. “I truly thank the voters for seeing past the barrage of propaganda and giving me a chance to keep fighting for the community.”