Can Republican Lee Zeldin pull off the upset and become New York governor?
Can Lee Zeldin win? That's the question I get asked by neighbors, little league parents, and randos on the Internet. People expect me to know these things and appreciate my insight for reasons I never quite grasped.
A Republican hasn't pulled it off since the 90s. The last three to try got shellacked. But there have been a number of polls that, at the very least, show Zeldin within striking distance if not ahead. As for whether he can pull off the upset or not... I'm not going to tell you.
It's not that I don't have a gut feeling and/or thoughts on the matter. It's that I don't want to say the words out loud. To quote the greatest political mind of this or any other generation...
What I WILL do is share with you two anecdotal points from events that have stood out to me. You are free to draw your own conclusions from there.
1. Ron DeSantis came to campaign for Zeldin. Glenn Youngkin too. I've worked on enough statewide campaigns in New York to know it's hard enough to get someone to sign off on letting you use their name for a fundraising email. Zeldin got AMERICA'S GOVERNOR to campaign for him. Ron DeSantis left his own state -- in the middle of his own reelection campaign -- to help Lee on his. One could be inclined to assume that Gov. DeSantis saw data that led him to believe it would be a worthwhile trip. If, you know, one was inclined to make that assumption.
2. New York City. We discussed the early voting numbers last week. NYC turnout is WAY DOWN both from where it was two years ago and compared to the rest of the state this year. Democrats are in a panic and are calling in all reinforcements to the only two counties Democrats care about in New York. Hillary Clinton. Kamala. The Bidens. Bill Clinton did five minutesyucking it up with Hochul about New Yorkers concerned with crime. Hochul's NYC supporters are in such a panic, they are assaulting Zeldin's supporters. That's not what winners do.
These are things that stand out to me. If they stand out to you to the point you tempt the wrath of the whatever by saying so out loud, I can't stop you. I can only ask you to be mindful of the rest of us. Because while I won't say out loud if I think Lee Zeldin will win, I sure as hell want him to.
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