The gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Lee Zeldin on Monday secured the backing of the Chemung County Republican leader, solidfying his support from local GOP leaders ahead of next June's primary.
Zeldin campaign has early on trumpeted the endorsements from local Republican leaders in a bid to establish him as the clear favorite of the party's leadership heading into the 2022 election.
But Zeldin, who represents an eastern Long Island House seat, is nevertheless expected to face competition for the party's nomination in a primary next year. Republicans Andrew Giuliani, Rob Astorino, Mike Carpinelli and Derek Gibson have vowed to remain in the race.
That's why validators like the Chemung County endorsement have enabled Zeldin to stand out in what remain the early days of the campaign.
“While crime runs rampant in our streets, families are being taxed out of their homes, and New York’s economy sputters, Democrats in Albany and NYC have been too distracted by their desperation to consolidate power, and everyday New Yorkers are paying the price," said Chemung County Republican Chairwoman Sarah Lattin. "New York needs a leader who will actually focus on the issues at hand."
This summer state Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy declared Zeldin the "presumptive" nominee of the party following his victory in a straw poll. Zeldin's campaign could further show support from party leaders next year at the state convention when he is likely to win the weighted vote totals and become the designated preferred candidate.
Still, that's no guarantee Zeldin would become the nominee to take on the Democratic candidate. Favored candidates by party leaders have in the past lost primaries in upsets, including Rick Lazio to Carl Paladino in 2010.