Pro-Zeldin PAC gets $1M boost as GOP counterattack begins amid Hochul ads

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has enjoyed a huge cash advantage over Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk) ahead of the Nov. 8 election – but an influx of cash is prompting him and his allies to launch a counteroffensive this week that will focuses on rising crime.

“You’re watching real violent crimes caught on camera in Kathy Hochul’s New York. Vote on November 8th like your life depends on it. It might just be,” says an ominous voice in an ad to be broadcast nationally starting Tuesday through a seven-figure ad buy.

Outside groups are also aiming to support the Long Island representative with a PAC called Save Our State loaded with $1 million in donations Records of the State Board of Elections Estée Lauder heir Ronald Lauder and venture capitalist Howard Cox are donating $500,000 and $250,000 respectively to the new group.

“We’re going to launch our first interesting congestion pricing-related hype on Friday morning,” Councilman Joe Borelli said on behalf of the PAC of the push, which will begin this week with digital displays and billboards in Manhattan before later pivoting to TV.

A spokesman for the Hochul campaign declined to comment.

Lee Zeldin
Rep. Lee Zeldin and his allies launch a counteroffensive this week focused on rising crime. Radin
Joe Birelli,
Councilman Joe Borelli works on the commercial blitz.

Another pro-Zeldin group called Stop the Insanity, meanwhile, is putting $200,000 and community influencers in ethnic communities to help Zeldin win at least 30% of the gubernatorial vote in the five counties – a crucial threshold for any Republican who wants to win nationally.

Lauder could be key to such efforts, considering he’s made major right-wing donations, including $4.15 million to the state Conservative Party last year, while successfully trying to push several Democrat-backed ballot initiatives to suppress.

Polls have shown Hochul with leads ranging from single digits to more than 20 points as she attacks the GOP flag-bearer as an extremist on issues including abortion, guns and the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul has a huge cash advantage over Zeldin.
Kevin P Coughlin
President of the World Jewish Congress and Chairman of the Jerusalem Post Conference Ronald S. Lauder
Ronald S. Lauder is President of the World Jewish Congress and Chair of the Jerusalem Post Conference.
Getty Images for RSL management

Lauder, who could not be reached for comment at the time of publication, has targeted Democrats in other ways in recent years, from funding ads that labeled Senate Democrats low-crime in 2020 to toward supporting Republicans’ legal challenge to Dem-friendly congressional lines approved by the state legislature earlier this year.

His entry into the 2022 gubernatorial race on behalf of Zeldin gives him a boost as he seeks to ramp up attacks on Hochul while raising enough funds to remain on the air.

Campaign records show Hochul had $11.7 million available as of mid-July, compared to $1.57 million for Zeldin, with both candidates raising millions more in recent weeks.

NYS Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy,
GOP state chairman Nick Langworthy believes Republicans can win their first gubernatorial race in two decades this year.
William Farington

Zeldin and his allies are trying to turn their cash benefits into a political liability amid alleged pay-to-play schemes involving Hochul and her campaign donors – while keeping an eye on the pre-election cash game.

“He’s not going to keep up with the special interest money from Kathy Hochul,” GOP state chairman Nick Langworthy told The Post on Monday, while claiming Republicans have enough financial firepower to hold their first gubernatorial race in two this year decades to win.

Money from donors like Lauder could change the race, experts say, as long as it’s spent wisely to counter the nationwide barrage of advertising that Hochul launched in English and Spanish earlier this week.

“If it’s bail reform and crime, maybe that’s money well spent,” veteran policy adviser Hank Sheinkopf told the Post. “Anything else? Give the dough to charity.” Pro-Zeldin PAC gets $1M boost as GOP counterattack begins amid Hochul ads


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