Governor Kathy Hochul’s inaction about the crime crisis enveloping the Big Apple allows Republican challenger Lee Zeldin to turn the key issue in his favor, political pundits said Friday.
Hochul opposed Democratic ally, Mayor Eric Adams, earlier this week when she rejected his request for a special session of the legislature to discuss what he calls the “catch, release, repeat” treatment of non-lawyers. repentant criminals under the state’s controversial bail reform law.
“She has a real, real problem now,” an experienced campaign adviser told The Post.
“She’s getting killed by this and she has a real vulnerability because she doesn’t want to lose the left, so she’s not going to do anything on bail reform at this point.”
The consultant also said of underdog Zeldin: “This is a great time for him. He’s getting this momentum like he’s never had before.”
A Democratic strategist said Hochul tried to punish crime because “she’s a real moderate”.
“If Kathy calls a special session and it fails, that’s a problem,” the strategist said. “She worries if she forces them to go back to the seat and it’s unsuccessful and explodes in her face, it opens her up to criticism from Republicans.”
Veteran Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said Hochul’s recent speech at the state police chiefs’ convention — where she opposed the “defund the police” movement — showed she is aware of her vulnerability to law and order.
The most recent statistics from the NYPD show serious crimes have risen this year through Sunday in every category except homicide, totaling 36.9% compared to the same period last year.
“Hochul needs to see this happen and find things that distract the eyes from the problem,” Sheinkopf said.
“She must continue to find such opportunities that will immediately keep her out of the fray and avert Zeldin’s criticism of crime.”
Lee Miringoff, the longtime director of the Marist Poll, said public concerns about rising crime “may not change the general tenor of the election, but it’s a fire she wants to put out.”
“It’s a potential wound for her and she doesn’t want to go near it,” he said. “The focus was not on her talking about relieving the police, the focus was on what the mayor asked her to do.”
Miringoff added: “Crime is the topic Zeldin wants on the agenda. That’s what he’d like to talk about: talking about crime. As the nuances fade back and forth, it works in his favor.”
In a prepared statement, Zeldin said, “Instead of burying her head in the sand, Hochul should stop making excuses and ignoring reality.”
“She really needs to listen to the people who are dealing with these issues in their communities — like Mayor Adams — and take bold action to revoke cashless bails, ‘raise the age’ and much more,” she added. he to it.
Hochul’s campaign declined to comment on the experts’ comments, but said “Lee Zeldin has no credibility on public safety matters.”
“His extreme stance would bring more guns into our streets and make it easier to carry firearms in places like schools, subways and supermarkets,” Hochul spokesman Jerrel Harvey said in an email.
“The facts are clear, Zeldin is out of contact and would make New York less safe.”