Gov. Kathy Hochul’s inaction on the crime crisis engulfing the Big Apple is allowing Republican challenger Lee Zeldin to turn the key issue in his favor, political experts said Friday.
Hochul defied Democratic-ally Mayor Eric Adams earlier this week when she turned down his request for a special session of the Legislature to deal with the treatment of unrepentant criminals under what he calls the state’s controversial bail bond reform law.
“She has a real, real problem now,” a senior campaign adviser told the Post.
“She’s getting killed for it and she has a real vulnerability because she doesn’t want to lose the left, so she’s not going to do anything about bail reform right now.”
The agent also said of the underdog Zeldin: “This is a great time for him. He’s getting that momentum like never before.”
One Democratic strategist said Hochul is trying to walk a fine line on crime because “she’s a real moderate.”
“If Kathy calls a special meeting and it fails, that’s a problem,” the strategist said. “She’s concerned if they force her to go back into session and it’s unsuccessful and blows her up, it exposes her to Republican criticism.”
Veteran Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said Hochul’s recent speech at the state chiefs’ convention — where she spoke out against the “defund the police” movement — shows she recognizes her vulnerability on law and order issues.
The latest NYPD statistics show that major crimes increased in every category except homicide this year through Sunday, with the overall rate being 36.9% higher compared to the same period last year.
“Hochul needs to watch this game and find things to take your eyes off the problem,” Sheinkopf said.
“She has to keep finding opportunities that keep her right out of the fray and that deflect Zeldin’s criticisms of crime.”
Lee Miringoff, the longtime director of the Marist Poll, said the public’s concerns about rising crime “may not change the general tenor of the poll, but it’s a fire they want to put out.”
“It’s a potential wound for her and she doesn’t want to go near it,” he said. “The attention was not that she was talking about disappointing the police, the attention was on what the mayor was asking of her.”
Miringoff added, “Crime is the issue that Zeldin wants to put on the agenda. That would be what he would like: talking about crime. While the nuance is lost in the back and forth, it works in its favor.”
In a prepared statement, Zeldin said, “Instead of burying your head in the sand, Hochul should stop making excuses and ignore reality.”
“She needs to actually listen to the people who are addressing these issues in their communities — like Mayor Adams — and take bold action to remove cashless bail, revise ‘age raising’ and more,” he added.
Hochul’s campaign declined to comment on the experts’ comment, but said that “Lee Zeldin has no public safety credibility.”
“His extreme stance would bring more guns to our streets and make it easier to carry firearms in places like schools, subways and grocery stores,” Hochul spokesman Jerrel Harvey said in an email.
“The facts are clear, Zeldin is dangerously out of touch and would make New York less safe.”
https://nypost.com/2022/07/29/hochul-has-a-real-vulnerability-to-zeldin-over-nyc-crime-experts/ Hochul ‘has a real soft spot’ on Zeldin over NYC crime: experts