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‘Never Trumper’: Zeldin goes on attack in first GOP debate for New York governor

“Stop lying,” mentioned Wilson.

The alternate summed up the tenor of the first debate between the Republicans hoping to reverse their social gathering’s two-decade shedding streak in statewide races in New York — and their assist or lack thereof for former President Donald Trump, the New York native with shut ties to lots of the candidates, was entrance and heart.

Zeldin; Wilson; former Trump White House adviser Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will seem on the June 28 main poll. The winner will face the victor of the Democratic main the identical night time, and Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is main in polls in opposition to Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

There has been minimal public polling carried out on the GOP main, however a lot of the out there numbers counsel Zeldin may need an edge. The Long Island congressman has obtained almost common assist from the social gathering institution.

But some numbers counsel that Giuliani has a lead. And Wilson, the previous Wall Street government, is placing $12 million of his personal cash into an effort to blanket the airwaves in advance of the vote.

Zeldin, nonetheless, was by far and away probably the most aggressive candidate through the statewide televised debate simply two weeks earlier than the first. He frequently attacked Astorino as “Rolex Rob,” a nickname utilized by Democrats in previous elections referring to a gift that he received from a person caught up in a federal bribery investigation.

But he reserved particular ire for Wilson, the reasonable candidate who has about matched Zeldin’s advert spending, based on the latest filings.

“You can lie as much as you want, but Republican voters are smarter than you, Harry Wilson,” Zeldin contended. “You went to Harvard, yes, but don’t think you are smarter than the Republican voters across the state of New York. They’ve figured you out, Never Trumper.”

Wilson jabbed again.

“He’s attacking the biggest threat because we’re surging,” Wilson, who has mentioned he wrote in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for president in 2020, responded to Zeldin, a former state senator. “[I’m] not some career politician who failed us in Albany for four years.”

Astorino additionally attacked Zeldin, saying Zeldin supported state budgets and elements of the agenda pushed by former Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Zeldin mentioned it wasn’t true.

“You were part of the status quo in Albany,” Astorino mentioned to Zeldin, who has been a staunch backer of Trump in Congress.

Giuliani, additionally with shut ties to Trump, was ignored in a lot of the assaults, and he stayed away from throwing barbs tossed by his main foes — one way or the other turning into the moderating voice in the room.

“Let’s be mature here guys. Let’s talk about the issues that are important to New Yorkers,” he mentioned at one level. “Enough of this.”

His voice was all that was in the room. Due to the Covid insurance policies by debate host CBS in Manhattan, the candidate — who shouldn’t be vaccinated — was required to take part through a video feed.

There wasn’t a large quantity of distinction on their positions on most points. None likes Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg; all defended the Second Amendment; they usually all agree that Covid rules and mandates went too far in New York — vowing to eliminate any remaining ones if elected.

“We’ve heard health mandates come down from two health commissioners and two governors saying you do not have a choice of what you can put in your body,” Giuliani mentioned of vaccine mandates. “I stand with them not just in empty words, but in actions.”

To the extent there have been variations on coverage, they got here from Wilson as he argued that he needed to focus on financial points and overhauling Albany moderately than matters like abortion or debates over same-sex rights. He mentioned, for instance, he wouldn’t look to overturn new abortion legal guidelines signed earlier Monday by Hochul, whereas the opposite candidates famous their opposition to abortions; Wilson is pro-abortion rights.

“Respectfully, the issues you’re focusing on are not the most important issues,” mentioned Wilson, who is running as a moderate.

“You’re on the wrong debate stage, man,” Zeldin countered. “You should be on the Democratic party debate stage right now.”

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