New York Post

Hochul & Bragg dinged in debate #2


The four Republican candidates for governor lashed out at Albany Democrats at Monday night’s debate over COVID-19 mandates, critical race theory, bail reform and the Manhattan district attorney.

“They want this forever-pandemic mentality. They use it to be able to spend money on things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to spend money on, to change laws they wouldn’t otherwise be able to change,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-LI) said of Gov. Hochul and Democratic lawmakers at the beginning of the debate, which was hosted by Spectrum News-NY1.

Zeldin has the edge in the final stretch of the campaign with polling, fundraisin­g and endorsemen­ts from Republican leaders ahead of the final day of primary voting on June 28. The winner will face the Democratic nominee in the November election, which appears likely to be Hochul. A final GOP debate is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday on Newsmax.

Going after bigger fish

Zeldin’s rivals refrained from attacking him early on while instead blasting progressiv­e-backed ideas like defunding the police, mandating masks and COVID vaccines for kids and racial “equity” efforts they likened to critical race theory.

“Most people understand that racism is a problem and we should confront it and we are,” former Westcheste­r Executive Rob Astorino said when asked to what degree he wants racism discussed in schools.

“But things like CRT which is seeping everywhere, is obviously where you divide people and tell people: ‘You’re bad. You’re a racist.”

The candidates — including businessma­n Harry Wilson and former White House staffer Andrew Andrew Giuliani — also found common ground on the idea of firing controvers­ial Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg under a provision in state law allowing governors to remove certain officials.

“People focus on the ideology rather than focusing on the facts on the ground,” Wilson, who has been criticized over a past campaign donation to Bragg, said about criminal-justice reforms championed by Albany Democrats amid an increase in violent crimes.

Wilson said he would even consider cracking down on “rogue DAs” that he

sees in other progressiv­e places like Brooklyn, The Bronx and Ulster County. Meanwhile, although none of the candidates directly criticized former President Donald Trump, and all expressed concerns with how the 2020 election was handled, only Giuliani explicitly backed the former president’s discredite­d claims that he won the 2020 election.

“I believe that President Trump was reelected. And I think unfortunat­ely, we’ve seen one of the greatest crimes in American history committed against our country,” Giuliani said.

They use [the pandemic] to be able to spend money on things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to spend money on, to change laws they wouldn’t otherwise be able to change.

— Lee Zeldin (right)

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