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Jan. 6 becomes new attack line as New York governor's race turns ugly

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Lee Zeldin is already running a tough race for governor of New York as a Republican in a very Democratic state. Now his opponent, Gov. Kathy Hochul, has a new and timely line of attack: Link him to far-right extremism and the Jan. 6 insurrection.

But Hochul, being a governor and all, isn’t going to get her hands dirty saying so. She’s got a deputy for that job, and one who served with Zeldin in Congress.

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, a former Hudson Valley congressman who assumed his position in May after Hochul’s first pick resigned, is excoriating his Long Island colleague for his behavior on the day of the insurrection at the Capitol last year — when Zeldin objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. He’s also begun trying to tie Zeldin to groups like the Oath Keepers.

“To have somebody who you served with take such an extreme position is very hurtful,” Delgado said in an interview this month. “And it's alarming.”

Delgado's comments give the clearest view yet of the emerging Hochul campaign strategy. Her team wants to seize on the Capitol assault and Zeldin's conservative positions, including his support for former President Donald Trump, to boost Democratic turnout as she seeks a full term in a heavily blue state. And she’ll stay above the political fray by letting her running mate be the public aggressor, mitigating any potential downsides to going negative early.

Zeldin is poised to run a race focused on the economy, crime and state corruption — hoping a red wave this November can help him beat the odds.

Hochul has broadly condemned far-right zealotry — during her primary victory speech and during several events since — but has rarely called her opponent out as directly as Delgado is now doing. The campaign did not make Hochul available for comment on Zeldin’s Jan. 6 actions.

Zeldin spokesperson Katie Vincentz blasted the comments from Delgado, saying in a statement that he's “having a disgraceful meltdown of epic proportions, misstating facts, peddling misinformation and trying to distract to absolutely any topic other than the issues that have New Yorkers fleeing the state in........

© Politico

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