William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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WE CAN DREAM, CAN'T WE?  There is a real chance that our fading state of New York will have a Republican governor.  From the New York Post: 

In politics, as in sports, underdogs are often the most interesting people. Modest except in ambition, they take nothing for granted while daring to dream that anything is possible.

Lee Zeldin is one of those people. Until recently, he was relatively unknown outside his Long Island congressional district, but he’s now on the cusp of playing David to Gov. Hochul’s Goliath.

A series of surveys in recent weeks has showed the race tightening, and a big jolt came Tuesday when the Quinnipiac poll put him behind by just four points.

Now there can be no doubt — the race is a toss-up.

It’s a stunning development in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 2-1 and no GOP candidate has won a statewide race in two decades. But independents favor Zeldin by 20 points, the poll finds, and it shows him getting 37% support in the city, double what recent GOP statewide candidates got.

As he and others have noted, a Republican has no chance of winning the state with less than 30% in the five boroughs.

If the numbers in the Q poll are right, and if Zeldin can hold the city support and add to his leads in the suburbs and upstate, he will pull off a remarkable upset.

One arrow in his quiver among suburban voters is that he opposes expensive congestion pricing in the city, which Hochul supports. It would take effect next year.

So the trend is his friend, and Zeldin knows it.

We have the momentum and we have the right issues,” he told me Tuesday. “We also have a clear sense of purpose.”

He describes that purpose succinctly: “To save our state,” and adds: “I have been busting my tail every day to save New York while Kathy Hochul is trying to save herself by crawling across the finish line.”

He’s not alone in questioning Hochul’s approach, which is best described as an extreme version of a Rose Garden strategy. Extreme as in she has hardly campaigned, limiting her public appearances mostly to government ribbon cuttings and bland speeches.

It’s the kind of strategy often employed by incumbents in good times. But these are far from good times for many New Yorkers, so even some pollsters are baffled about what she’s thinking.

“I have no idea, it makes zero sense,” one said.

It’s not that the governor doesn’t have a clear agenda — it’s that she doesn’t have an agenda at all, at least one she’s told voters about. She’s keeping to herself any plan for what she would do if elected to a full term after taking office when the disgraced Andrew Cuomo resigned. Nor does she have a roster of surrogates who speak for her.

COMMENT:  Ah, just the thought of an upset by Zeldin restores my morale and makes me young again.   We need help here in New York State, and Zeldin is that help.  He has the right ideas and the right spirit...but he's up against a powerful Democratic machine that largely depends on zombie voters who will pull the Democratic lever even if it meant voting for Dracula.

Zeldin must pour on extra heat in these next three weeks, and the GOP must have a superb get-out-the-vote system on election day.  This can be done.

October 18, 2022