Democrats opened a new super PAC in New York to support Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign as her lead over Republican challenger Lee Zeldin continues to shrink.
The PAC, founded Friday under the Democratic Governors Association, is the latest sign that the party fears a potential Republican wave in next week’s midterm elections. Hochul was leading Zeldin by 17 points this summer, but the lead has since shrunk to fewer than 10 points.
“Republican Super PACs have spent a record amount of nearly $12 million to insert an election denying, abortion banning, MAGA Republican who would make New York less safe by rolling back laws to take illegal guns off the street,” David Turner, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, told the Associated Press. “The DGA is taking nothing for granted, and won’t sit idly by.”
Hochul’s campaign has had the funding advantage over Zeldin throughout the race, and the political makeup of New York — about two Democrats for every one Republican — meant few truly viewed Zeldin as a threat.
The now-close race has Democratic Party heavyweights like President Barack Obama rushing to the state. Obama cut a radio ad supporting Hochul that is now blasting across the state.
“My friend, Gov. Kathy Hochul, is the best person for the job, hands down,” Obama says in the one-minute radio ad. “Kathy knows how to get things done. She’s a strong leader who has met the moment and fought for you.”
“She’s a strong leader who has met the moment and fought for you,” Obama adds. “Kathy has strengthened the economy, investing in public safety and getting illegal guns off the streets.”
Obama urged New Yorkers not to “sit this one out” because “your vote matters,” and the “stakes could not be higher.”
Less visible on the midterm campaign trail is Obama’s successor, President Biden. Biden has visited fewer than half of the 14 states with the closest congressional and gubernatorial races, and he’s visited just one of the four states whose races will determine control of the Senate.
Biden’s approval rating has been sitting below 40% throughout October, and his slim schedule is an indicator that Democrats in tight races view his presence as a potential liability.