As New York Governor Kathy Hochul faces her own competitors in Tuesday’s primaries, the GOP race has been narrowed down to two candidates—Andrew Giuliani and Representative Lee Zeldin.
While his Republican opponent has raised more money from individual contributions than any other GOP candidate and has the official backing of the state Republican Party, Giuliani has emerged as a wild card with polls showing him in dead heat despite raising less than a million dollars.
Giuliani, a former Trump aide and the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, has been the most Trump-friendly candidate in the Republican field, saying he believes the former president to be the real winner of the 2020 election as his rivals have remained evasive over questions about the legitimacy of President Joe Biden‘s victory. Only one GOP candidate, Harry Wilson, has affirmed that Biden won the White House fairly.
Giuliani has unexpectedly climbed in the polls this month. While an Emerson college poll conducted June 9 to 10 showed him in third with 13 percent—compared with Zeldin who had 34 percent support in first—he has closed the 21 point gap to just two points in the last two weeks.
The most recent poll, conducted June 15 to 20 by SurveyUSA, shows Giuliani in dead heat with his opponent at 23 percent to Zeldin’s 25.
But even if Giuliani ends up securing the Republican nomination, he will be in a tough general election against the Democrats. In New York, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by more than two to one.
Ironically, Giuliani could face an even tougher general against Hochul, who is cruising into a dominating win in the June 28 primary, due to the familiarity of his last name. While the Giuliani name may appeal to Republican voters, it could hurt the former mayor’s son in November’s election.
An online poll conducted for WHEC and WNYT last week shows Hochul with a 26 percent lead over Giuliani in a possible fall matchup. The survey suggests that both Zeldin and Wilson would mount a stronger challenge to Hochul, who would have a slightly smaller 24-point advantage over Zeldin and 25 points over Wilson.
The poll surveyed 3,500 New York adults and has a margin of error of about 2.7 percentage points.
Although Wilson seems to be trailing Giuliani and Zeldin going into Tuesday, the abortion rights candidate and former Obama adviser could be the one to make a general election actually competitive.
But Wilson has struggled to appeal to more New York Republicans, despite spending almost $11 million of his own money on his gubernatorial campaign. By comparison, Giuliani’s campaign reported less than $400,000 in funds last week, according to state Board of Elections records.
One of Giuliani’s final campaign stops has been the center of significant media attention, after a grocery store employee “slapped [his father] in the midback while stating, ‘What’s up scumbag?’” according to the New York Police Department.
Since a video of the incident has emerged, the worker’s charges have been reduced by prosecutors to third-degree assault, third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment.
“The charges facing Daniel Gill, who has no previous contact with the criminal legal system, are inconsistent with existing law,” the Legal Aid Society, which is representing the man who allegedly assaulted Rudy, said in a Monday statement.
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