New York

Lee Zeldin Captures Republican Primary for N.Y. Governor

In a brief concession speech, Mr. Giuliani struck a conciliatory tone, asking his supporters to back Mr. Zeldin. “This is a movement that is just beginning,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Zeldin had also hewed closely to Mr. Trump’s policies when he was president, going so far as to vote to overturn the results of the 2020 election in key swing states. As a candidate for governor, Mr. Zeldin has somewhat moderated those conservative opinions — voicing skepticism about outlawing abortion in New York, for instance, and giving only muted support to the idea of another Trump candidacy — yet still managed to appeal to the die-hard Republican voters who typically vote in primaries.

The resulting general election campaign will still be an uphill climb for Mr. Zeldin, considering that registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than two to one in New York. (In pure statistical terms, Republicans are a third party in New York, as they are also outnumbered by nonaffiliated voters.) In order to win in November, Mr. Zeldin will need not only to galvanize his base but also to attract moderate swing voters who may be dissatisfied with Democrats, including President Biden and Ms. Hochul.

No Republican has been elected governor in the state since George Pataki defeated Carl McCall, a Democrat, and a billionaire third-party candidate, Tom Golisano, in 2002. The three most recent contests were easily won by Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who served until his resignation last August.

Mr. Zeldin, who is married with twin daughters, has since 2015 represented the eastern part of Long Island, encompassing a mix of suburban and more rural areas that could be critical in a general election. In 2021, Democrat-backed changes to bail laws, for instance, were potent issues for Republicans on Long Island, leading to a surge of wins in elections in Nassau County, adjacent to Mr. Zeldin’s district.

Results on Tuesday showed that Mr. Zeldin ran very strongly on Long Island, as well as in central and western New York, which could be battlefields in a general election in which neither he or Ms. Hochul hail from New York City.

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