Gov. Hochul sped away from a parade in Brooklyn today, ignoring a shouted question from The Post – just days after a shock poll showed underdog challenger Lee Zeldin just four points behind her.
Unlike Mayor Eric Adams, Hochul stuck to her head-in-the-sand script and refused to stop walking to press skin and speak to reporters while attending the West Indian Day parade marched along the Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.
And when Hochul—leading a contingent of dignitaries behind a large banner bearing her name, title, and official seal—reached New York Avenue before the end of the route, she pulled off and sped to a waiting SUV.
The Democratic governor turned her head briefly in response to a shouted question from The Post asking when she would debate with Zeldin, an outgoing Republican congressman from Long Island.
But she didn’t answer, got in the car and was driven away behind the tinted windows.
GOP political adviser William O’Reilly, who does not work for Zeldin, said: “Gov. Hochul thinks she can pursue a rose garden strategy, but she does it at her own peril.”
“New Yorkers expect their candidates to debate, and they don’t look kindly on those who try to oust them,” he said.
“As an unelected governor, Ms. Hochul has an additional obligation to voters, but at this point she doesn’t seem to care. She believes she can roll to victory and that could be a very costly mistake.”
On August 17, Hochul’s campaign said it “looks forward to” facing Zeldin in debates, but would not say if it would approve his plan for five debates across the Empire State.
TV networks CBS New York and PIX11 have each offered to host and broadcast a debate.
In a statement following Hochul’s disappearance on Sunday, Zeldin asked, “What is Kathy Hochul so afraid of?”
“She could easily take the debate requests from CBS2 and PIX11 today!” said Zeldin, who seemed very approachable at the same parade.
“Voters deserve the opportunity to make an informed decision about the future of our state, to know firsthand where the two candidates stand on the issues most important to them, and to cast their vote accordingly.”
Hochul – who succeeded Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he resigned last year over a sexual harassment scandal and faces investigations into his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic – has consistently bested Zeldin by up to in polls ahead of Nov. 8 24 points led election.
But polling results released on Saturday by the independent Trafalgar Group showed Hochul just ahead of Zeldin at 47.8 percent to 43.4 percent, with a margin of error of 2.9 percent.
Robert Cahaly, Trafalgar’s chief researcher, tweeted that the “numbers are surprising,” but said there was “a big shift in favor of non-incumbents” after President Biden last month decided to bid up to $20,000 Eliminate student debt per borrower.
The previous gubernatorial race poll — which gave Hochul a commanding 55% to 31% lead — was released Aug. 23, a day before Biden’s controversial announcement.
When asked for comment on Sunday, Hochul’s campaign repeated her statement from last month, saying, “As with every election of her career, Governor Hochul looks forward to debating with Congresswoman Zeldin this fall.”
“New Yorkers need to hear about Lee Zeldin’s allegiance to the MAGA agenda and the far-right’s record on guns and abortion rights, and Governor Hochul will deliver that message to voters before November,” the statement added.
Hochul’s campaign would not say why she dodged questions at the parade, escalating the question to her office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/05/hochul-ducks-reporters-at-west-indian-fest-as-zeldin-closes-in/ Hochul ducks from reporters at the West Indian Festival as Zeldin approaches