Gov. Kathy Hochul blasted her Republican opponent Lee Zeldin for not reflecting the values of most New Yorkers when it comes to the majority voter opinion on labor, environmental, LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, and that they belong in Florida.
The comments immediately drew the ire of Zeldin and Molinaro, as voters later Tuesday must select candidates for congressional and state Senate races and decide who should fill the lieutenant governor’s House seat Antonio Delgado in the Hudson Valley. At Monday evening’s rally, Hochul said the election was about safeguarding democracy.
“We’re here to say the era of Trump and Zeldin and Molinaro: Just get on a bus and go down to Florida where you belong, okay?” Hochul said, according to a transcript of the rally. “Get out of town.” Hochul said the Republican candidates do not “represent our values.”
“You’re not New Yorkers,” he said. “We come from a long line of people who fought for women’s rights that happened here first. We fought for environmental justice that happened here first. We fought for labor rights that happened here first. We fought for the rights LGBTQ who happened here first.”
Polls have shown a majority of voters support a number of these issues, which Democrats hope to capitalize on in an otherwise challenging political environment this year. The comments immediately drew criticism from Republicans Monday night.
Zeldin has posted a video on Twitter calling Hochul’s comments “psychologically demanding.”
Molinaro in a statement compared Hochul’s comments to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement that extreme conservatives “have no place in New York State.”
“Governor Hochul, the governor of the entire state of New York, at a rally with my opponent nodding his head sounded exactly like Andrew Cuomo,” Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinario said. “You disagree with their policies, you don’t agree with them and you have no place here. This is another example of how arrogant Kathy Hochul, Pat Ryan and the Liberals have become. Let me be very clear: all those who live here, regardless of your party or beliefs, are New Yorkers.”
Molinaro and Ryan face a special election Tuesday to represent the Hudson Valley district vacated by Delgado this spring.