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Zeldin doesn't concede despite Hochul claiming victory in New York governor's race

J.D. Allen
Lee Zeldin, GOP candidate for governor of New York, rallying his hometown of Suffolk County before heading to election night in Manhattan.

With a 10-point lead, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has been elected as the first female governor of New York. Even though the Associated Press has called the race, Hochul's opponent Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island, has not yet conceded.

Hocul's margin of victory wasn't as wide as her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, but it wasn’t as tight as Republicans had hoped. Still, in a pugnacious midnight speech, Zeldin said that there were still 1.4 million votes left to be counted.

“This has been a battle of ideas that we fought for without apology or regret," Zeldin said, before going on to bash the media, COVD vaccine mandates, and what he called rogue district attorneys.

Throughout the summer, as Zeldin hammered home his tough-on-crime message, he started to close the gap with Hochul. He was so effective, the campaign battleground shifted to the Democratic stronghold of New York City. Ultimately, however, the final numbers ended closer to what Democrat’s 2-to-1 margin in voter registration would suggest.

Still Zeldin said Republicans "crushed" Election Day voting with results still coming in.

“You will see this race get closer and closer and closer as the night goes on,” he said.

Zeldin’s campaign strategy relied on getting upwards of 40% of New York City voters. On election night he just topped 30%, close to a standard Republican turnout.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.