NEW YORK — U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, was attacked by a man who apparently tried to stab him at an upstate event Thursday, but the congressman escaped serious injury.
“I’m fine,” Zeldin said in a statement. “Luckily I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few minutes before others got to him.”
Zeldin’s campaign said the attacker was taken into custody and the congressman continued his speech. This November, he is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The attacker climbed onto a low stage where the congressman was speaking to a crowd of dozens outside Rochester, surrounded by hay bales and American flags. A video posted on Twitter shows the two falling to the ground as other people try to intervene.
Among those who helped subdue the gunman was Zeldin’s teammate, former NYPD Deputy Inspector Allison Esposito, state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said.
Langworthy told The Associated Press that he did not have any details about the gunman or his weapon, but that he then exchanged text messages with Zeldin while the congressman spoke with police.
“He’s fine. He’s not seriously injured. It’s just a chaotic scene,” Langworthy said. He said Zeldin had “just a little scrape” but it’s not what anyone would consider an injury.
In a statement, Hochul condemned the attack and said she was “relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody.”
Deputy Brendan Hurley, a spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, released a statement to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle saying the office “is aware of an incident during gubernatorial candidate Zeldin’s speech tonight. A suspect has been taken into custody and serious crimes are being investigated.
Messages seeking information from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office were not immediately returned, and phone messages were left with the county’s emergency dispatch.
Langworthy urged Hochul to release Zeldin’s security information to protect him during the campaign.
“This could have been a lot worse. It really could have ended in a terrible way tonight and that is unacceptable,” he said.
Hochul’s press secretary, Avi Small, referred questions about Zeldin providing a security detail to the New York State Police.
Zeldin, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015, is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and was among the Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.
He has focused his campaign on fighting crime, but faces an uphill battle against Hochul. He will have to convince independent voters — who outnumber Republicans in the state — as well as Democrats to win the general election.
Democrats are expected to focus on Zeldin’s vocal defense of Trump during his two impeachments and the challenge to the election results.
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Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, attacked at a rally
Source link Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, attacked at a rally