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In the race for Governor, Hochul and Zeldin pull out all the stops as Election Day approaches

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Governor Kathy Hochul and her challenger, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin kept up frenzied campaign schedules over the weekend, with just one full day now left before Election Day. With the candidates locked in close race, everything is now about getting their supporters to turn out at the polls.

Hochul, a democrat, spent much of the weekend in New York City, where she spoke at several Black churches, and appeared with a current and past President of the United States.

Former President Bill Clinton headlined a Get Out the Vote rally in Brooklyn. Clinton, whose successful 1992 campaign for President focused on fixing economic problems, says once again, it’s the economy that has made the race so close.

(It’s)because of inflation. When the cost of living goes up, it’s unsettling,” Clinton said. “We closed down during Covid, and when we started opening up a lot of things had come lose.”

The former President told the audience that the turn out in the borough could make all the difference in whether Hochul is successful or not.

Hochul warned about becoming too comfortable, saying much is at stake on Tuesday.

Complacency can destroy all the rights we have fought for so long,” Hochul said. “And that’s why this also is a fight against complacency.”

Hochul is ahead in many parts of New York City, but the races is closer in the surrounding suburbs. To help her draw supporters there to the polls, President Joe Biden spoke at a rally at Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester Sunday night.

Governor Hochul is the first woman to serve as governor of New York,” Biden said. “And on Tuesday night, with your help, she’ll be the first woman elected governor of New York.”

Biden says Tuesday’s election will determine the future of the country for a generation.

“We face one of those inflection points,” Biden said. “We all know it in our bones that our democracy is at risk.”

Hochul has made abortion rights, in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V Wade, as well as democracy a focus of her campaign. She says that her opponent opposes abortion rights and could repeal the state’s laws that codified the rights Roe v Wade into law. She also highlights his ties to former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Zeldin, and the Congressman’s vote against certifying the 2020 elections.

Zeldin says he won’t try to repeal the state’s abortion rights laws, and has downplayed his association with Trump.

The republican challenger focused on campaigning upstate on Sunday, with a bus tour through Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton.

“Broome County, are you ready to fire Kathy Hochul?” Zeldin asked. “48 hours to go. That’s it- homestretch! ”

He spent Saturday in the Hudson Valley, including a rally in Orange County featuring former Presidential candidate and Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard.

Gabbard, who, like Zeldin, also served in the US Armed Forces, was a democrat until she left the party last month and endorsed several GOP candidates in Tuesday’s mid term election. She says Zeldin will stand up for freedom and against government mandates.

Having this radical woke democrat party in charge of the House, Senate and the White House has put us in a very dangerous place as a country,” said Gabbard, who said who New Yorkers elect as governor “matters to the country.”

Zeldin says Hochul is failing to take action to bring down the crime rate. The Congressman wants to repeal the state’s controversial 2019 bail reform laws, saying that, if elected, he will issue an executive order to immediately suspend the laws. He says Hochul is out of touch with New Yorkers’ concerns about crime.

“And when she says that she doesn’t understand why that is so important to me, she’s saying that she doesn’t understand why that is so important to you,” Zeldin told the crowd.

Hochul in April oversaw changes to the bail laws, but does not support repealing them, saying the roots of the increased crime are more complicated than that. And she says no anti-crime plan can work without gun safety measures. Hochul has enacted laws including a strengthening the state’s Red Flag laws, and banning anyone under 21 from buying a semi –automatic rifle. Zeldin opposes gun control measures, saying they impede peoples’ second amendment rights.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment and interviews newsmakers. Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.