President Biden gave New York Gov. Kathy Hochul a boost before the election, while also hitting Lee Zeldin (R) for opposing funding for more police officers. "Folks, Gov. Hochul's opponent talks a good game on crime. But it's all talk," Biden said at a campaign event Sunday in Yonkers, N.Y. Biden hit Zeldin, who has served in Congress since 2015, for opposing the American Rescue Plan. The legislation passed last year included billions of dollars in funding for state and local governments to hire more police officers and invest in community programs intended to reduce violence, reports The Hill.
Biden contrasted Zeldin's vote on that legislation with his own record since taking office, he noted that he has rejected calls from some progressives to defund the police. Biden also signed a bipartisan bill earlier this year to strengthen gun laws in response to multiple mass shootings, including one in Buffalo, N.Y. The president criticized Zeldin for opposing a ban on assault weapons, which Biden pledges to do in the new Congress despite likely not having the votes. "If a politician won't stand up to his party's leaders to keep cops on the beat, and won't stand up to the NRA and get assault weapons off the street, do you think he's going to take and help your families keep safe?" Biden said. In the N.Y. gubernatorial race, crime has taken an outsize role, all the while Zeldin has capitalized on citizens' concerns about high-profile murders occurring in New York City. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in October found Hochul leading Zeldin by four points. When N.Y. voters were asked to point out their most pressing issue, 28 percent said it was crime. Inflation came in second at 20 percent.