CLAY: We do have Lee Zeldin with us. And you may have heard that who we hope you will end up the governor of New York. You’re running against Kathy Hochul. But isn’t it kind of amazing how, as crime has skyrocketed everywhere, Lee, that suddenly all the Democrats are saying, “Man, who could have caused this? I wonder. I wonder what’s going on here.” Certainly ,you’re seeing it all over New York and New York City.
ZELDIN: Well, amen. There are a lot of Democrats who want to feel safe on the streets. They want to be able to ride the subways. They understand that their party has gone too far left, they feel disenfranchised by their party. Every day I have people telling me that they’re a lifelong Democrat, they’ve always voted Democrat, and this year they’re voting Republican. One of the interesting dynamics that I remember unfolding was watching the Democratic Party primary for New York City mayor which basically kicked off around the start of the riots, and the George Floyd and all that.
And it was a year later that the actual primary took place. And at the beginning of the primary process, the most popular issue towards the top of the list was crime. But it was really an anti-police, defund the police-type approach. And a year later when the actual primary took place again, crime popped back up on the list, but you had a lot of Democrats who were concerned that it was becoming less safe. They wanted to nominate somebody who they felt would clean up the streets. So, it played out from spring of 2020 to late spring of 2021 in a way that unfolded here, and it’s only gotten worse since.
BUCK: Congressman Zeldin, it’s Buck. You know, I’m a born and raised New Yorker, lived in New York City pretty much my whole adult life. Little interlude with the CIA where I had to leave here but other than that, I’m a New York guy. I’m furious about what has been done to my city and what has happened throughout in state. And people look at New York, sure, but also in Rochester, in Buffalo, in parts even out in Nassau County. I mean, there’s just been this crime wave that has been going that has been directly attributable to decisions made by Democrats.
Is there…? What needs to happen? I mean, I honestly get so frustrated that I just want to start screaming expletives over this. What needs to happen for…? If you’re an independent voter in New York State, they gotta see this, right? I mean, you’re out there talking. They have to see that if they come into Times Square right now, they might get hit by a lunatic with a trash can with no pants on. I mean, it’s crazy out there. Do they see it? Like, how is this actually handing?
ZELDIN: Yeah, but there can’t possibly be a shooting in Times Square because now they have a sign up that says it’s a gun-free zone. So that’s fixed.
BUCK: The single dumbest gun-free zone sign I think I’ve ever seen — I should take a photo of it — Congressman, about a week ago. Keep going.
ZELDIN: Yeah. And, you know, I did a press conference like a week later, I was in the Bronx where some postal worker got pistol-whipped going into her job and got robbed of over a hundred thousand dollars of what they had inside of the post office. I said, “You know, maybe they should put up a sign above this post office saying, ’Pistol-whipping free zone.’” I’m in Rochester right now, and while all across the state and country we see what’s going on in the city, it’s a national new stories.
As you pointed out in other areas, they’re experiencing new highs in different areas of crime across the board. We need to remove rogue DAs who refuse to enforce the law. We do not have recall elections in New York, but the governor does have the constitutional authority — and I would say constitutional duty — to remove a DA who refuses to do their job. I’ve pledged as my first act, first day sworn into office is telling the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg that he’s being fired. We need to repeal cashless bail.
We have people — we saw that axe man in the McDonald’s on Delancey street in Lower Manhattan breaking tables, breaking walls, swinging at customers. He was instantly released due to cashless bail. I’ll tell you one other thing: Our corrections officers, other prison staff and inmates are being assaulted more since April 1st and implementation of New York of something called the Halt Act. It was limiting the tool of solitary confinement, and even solitary confinement isn’t what it used to be. It’s not like the movies.
And now you have more assaults taking place inside of prisons. That should be repealed. All right, one or more bonus one. We have kids who are teenagers who are being used to commit crimes because they passed a law called raise the age. So now instead of sending these kids off to criminal court. I would say kids but, you know, they’re 15, 16 years old, they’re committing crimes, instead of going to criminal court they’re going off to family court and they’re being used by other criminals to commit crime after crime after crime because they know that the system isn’t gonna do anything about them. So now they’re committing more crimes, not less. We know what we need to do. I put it on my website, ZeldinforNewYork.com/secureourstreets. A couple dozen or so proposals that I believe would make our streets safe again.
CLAY: Lee, Congressman, I was reading even the New York Times is talking about the impact that you’re having in New York City in particular in Jewish communities with people getting lined up behind you. What are you seeing in New York City, and what is the math need to look like in order for you to win this race? Kind of lay out what people in New York City who are listening to us, but also, I think we’re number one, Buck, in Syracuse, Albany, all these outside-of-New York City communities. What does the victory path look like for a Republican running in New York State?
ZELDIN: If you get less than 29% of the vote in New York City, you can’t win. If you get more than 35% of the vote in New York City, you can’t lose. So a lot of this does come down to the city, but it’s a 62-county campaign. As you pointed out, Syracuse. When you go north of the city, north of Westchester, the four biggest counties that you have to win Orange County, Onondaga; that’s where Syracuse is; Monroe, that’s where Rochester is; and Erie County, that’s where Buffalo is. You have to win all four. Sixty percent in Suffolk and 55% in Nassau and 43% of Westchester but that’s all if you get 29% of the vote in New York City. Every extra point that you get in the city the numbers that you need elsewhere go down. Ideally if you get to 35% then you basically have this locked up.
CLAY: Get to 35? That’s the question. We have people that are fired up in New York City that are listening and may not realize how winnable this race is, so I just want you to be able to tell them all out there about what your pathway is.
ZELDIN: Yeah, we had an internal poll we released yesterday. It came back on Monday. It had a 5.8% gap between Hochul and I in New York City. That poll came back that had us currently at 32%. You have margins of error, could be better it could be worse, but that’s what that poll came back as. You have geographic pockets where you need to do really well said in of the city, Staten Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Middle Village. And as far as the coalition effort goes, we do a lot with the Hispanic community, with the Asian community, with the Jewish community, with the black community, and you have to engage with them; build relationships.
It’s why we started early, we got into this race 19 months to the day before the election, all across all the groups, number one issue is crime. But they also care about school choice. They care about being able to afford to survive in New York where they are implementing congestion pricing where they want to tax people for going into the city even more than what they currently pay to go into the city. So I oppose congestion pricing. Hochul supports it. This is just one of the many reasons why there needs to be multiple debates throughout the state.
And Hochul, just like you’re seeing in other places all throughout the entire country with other Democrats, her offer is that she will do one debate for one hour on cable at the very end of October; she says that’s it. Even though people already voting, I mean, absentee ballots started going out this past Friday. She wants them to wait over a month after the start of voting before we have a one and only debate on cable where millions of New Yorkers can’t even watch it on their TV screens.
BUCK: Wow. It’s amazing. The plan really is for Hochul, for Fetterman, a number of these candidates is just hide and hope that the Democrat machinery carries them over the finish line, and they basically lie about what they support, in the meantime. Congressman Congressman Zeldin, he’s running against Hochul; he needs to be the next governor of New York, everybody. Lee, where should people go to help you?
ZELDIN: Website is atZeldinforNewYork.com. We’re on social media too @Lee Zeldin across all different kinds of social media platforms, and I appreciate what you guys do. As I travel around the state there’s a whole lot of New Yorkers everywhere tuning into your show every day. They were reaching out to me yesterday saying, hey, they heard that I was gonna come on today. They wanted to know what time. So there’s a lot of people out there across the state tuning in. And listen. We have to work hard taking nothing for granted. And everyone out there wherever you live, you are not jumping on a board for a wave. That is not what this about. You need to do your part to create the wave until the polls close on November 8th.
CLAY: That’s well said. We’re rooting for you. We’ll have you on again as we get closer. Keep up the good work.
ZELDIN: Thanks, guys. Take care.
BUCK: Lee Zeldin, man. If we could get a win on the board with Congressman Zeldin New York governor? Empire State’s coming back, baby. It can happen.