In an April 28, 2022 Spectrum News NY1 article, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), a Republican candidate for governor of New York, was described as “dangerous” by the New York State Democratic Party.
What, you may ask, did Rep. Zeldin do to inspire this characterization? He participated in a video conversation with a pro-life organization. That’s what he did.
During an April 27 video town hall held by New York State Right to Life (NYSRTL), Rep. Zeldin reportedly stated that pro-life advocates would be welcome at the Capitol in a Zeldin administration. “‘Come on into the second floor of the New York State Capitol. It’s been a while, but you come right on in,’ he said.” Rep. Zeldin added that “‘it would be a great benefit for the state of New York to have a health commissioner who respects life as opposed to what we’re used to.’” Rep. Zeldin also remarked, “‘I don’t even remember the last time New York state had a pro-life governor.’” Spectrum News NY1 noted that the State of New York has not elected a pro-life governor since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973.
Here in New York, it is typical for liberal voices to portray pro-life candidates as extreme, reactionary, and out of the mainstream. The reaction to Rep. Zeldin’s participation in the NYSRTL town hall is just the latest example of this phenomenon; the New York State Democratic Party issued a statement saying that “‘Zeldin’s event with the Right to Life Party [sic] shows just how dangerous it would be for New Yorkers if he were elected governor.’” (New York State Right to Life is a nonprofit organization; the Right to Life Party is a political party.)
It is not yet certain which gubernatorial candidates will appear on the ballot this November. Rep. Zeldin faces several Republican primary challengers, and Gov. Kathy Hochul faces two Democratic primary challengers. If Rep. Zeldin and Gov. Hochul end up facing one another this fall, there will certainly be a stark contrast between the candidates’ views on abortion. As Spectrum News NY1 noted, Gov. Hochul recently stated that legal abortion is “‘a right that’s fundamentally, deeply personal to women, to not have male governors or Supreme Court justices telling them what to do with their bodies.’” In a recent tweet, Gov. Hochul added, “‘My message to governors attacking reproductive rights is simple: Knock it off.’” Last year, the Governor said, “‘We have oppression going on in our own country when people are trying to tell women what to do with their own bodies… Keep your d**n hands off our bodies. Keep your d**n hands off our bodies…’” Hochul is also a strong supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2019 Abortion Expansion Act, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health Act.
On November 8, 2022, New York voters may have the opportunity to decide which candidate—Rep. Zeldin or Gov. Hochul—they believe to be “dangerous.”