Lee Zeldin’s New York Republicans Party Like It’s 1994
Democrats acted as if they were unopposed. Kathy Hochul may end up paying the price in the governor’s race.
Success can lead to overconfidence, if not arrogance, and political success is no exception. If Republican Lee Zeldin wins his race for New York governor against incumbent Kathy Hochul, it may be the biggest upset of 2022, and aloof Democratic officials will have only themselves to blame.
So dominant are Democrats in the Empire State that Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in 20 years. Since 2008, the Democratic presidential candidate has carried New York by an average of 25 points. The last Republican to represent New York in the U.S. Senate was Alfonse D’Amato, who left office in 1999, when Bill Clinton was president and Beyoncé was a member of Destiny’s Child.
That political track record has led state Democrats to believe they could do as they pleased without consequence. In 2014, New York voters amended the state constitution and set up an independent commission to ensure that new congressional and state legislative districts aren’t “drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.” Ignoring public will, Democrats this year proposed new maps that would have gerrymandered Republicans almost out of existence. The GOP sued, and the state’s top court eventually appointed a special master to draw competitive maps in line with the constitution.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal