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Long Island News

A Trump ally, Zeldin continues sweep of GOP support for New York governor

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.
House Television via AP
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Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin of Long Island now has support from nearly all local Republican leaders to run for governor of New York. Zeldin secured the Chemung County Republican Committee endorsement this week, adding to his list of supporters.

Craig Burnett, associate professor of political science at Hofstra University, said Zeldin is a good choice as a representative of suburban New Yorkers, but his conservative positions will cost him in a statewide election.

“In the case of governor, that has to be somebody who can appeal to a fairly broad base of people. And one that can actually appeal to a more liberal voter,” said Burnett. “That’s where I actually think that he runs into problems.”

He said no amount of GOP support can erase Zeldin’s image as an ally of former President Donald Trump.

“I actually don’t think that, policy-wise, he is going to be able to really break free from the fact that he is seen by and large, and I think objectively so, as a pretty big Trump supporter,” he said. “My read on New York state politics is: that is still not going to play very well here in this state.”

Burnett said the Republican party will face long odds in a race against incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, but Zeldin seems willing to take the risk because he faces the loss of his congressional seat in the upcoming electoral redistricting.

Zeldin has until April 7, 2022, to file to run in the New York state primaries.