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With less than a week to go until primary day in New York State, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin landed an endorsement from one of the biggest names in the GOP as he runs for his party’s gubernatorial nomination.
Zeldin, a four-term lawmaker who represents New York’s 1st Congressional District, which covers the eastern half of Long Island, was formally endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence, who has long supported Zeldin as he aims to be the first Republican elected governor in heavily blue New York State in two decades and who headlined a fundraiser for Zeldin earlier this year, reiterated his endorsement as he spoke at an event Wednesday night in New York City hosted by the state’s Conservative Party.
“Proud to endorse @leezeldin for Governor of New York at the @cpnys today! He’s a Lt Col in the Army Reserve, proud supporter of our police officers, advocate for parents’ rights in education & a fiscal Conservative who will fight for lower taxes, less regulation & more freedom!” the former vice president said in an accompanying tweet.
Both the New York State Conservative Party and the state GOP have officially endorsed Zeldin. He also enjoys the backing of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a leading lawmaker in the House GOP conference, and Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York, who represents the New York City borough of Staten Island. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has helped raise money for Zeldin.
Zeldin is the clear front-runner when it comes to endorsements, public opinion polling and fundraising in a primary race that also includes Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive and 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee; Andrew Giuliani, who served in former President Donald Trump’s administration and is the son of former New York City mayor and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; and Harry Wilson, a businessman, investor and restructuring expert who’s pouring millions of his own money into his gubernatorial bid.
With just five days to go until Tuesday’s primary in New York, Trump has remained neutral, despite efforts by Zeldin — who was a Trump ally in the House during the former president’s administration — as well as Giuliani and Astorino to land the former president’s blessing.
The winner of the GOP primary will likely face off against Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. She is the clear polling and fundraising front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a race that also includes Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams.
Hochul, who at the time was the state’s lieutenant governor, was sworn in last August as New York’s first female governor, after three-term Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals.