Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Alison Esposito, in a radio interview on Monday, knocked Gov. Kathy Hochul for campaigning on issues like the environment and gun law changes -- issues she said voters are not concerned with leading up to the general election.

"They are worried about important things and Kathy Hochul would love to distract New Yorkers," Esposito said on WGY radio. "That's exactly what she's doing. Environmental protections, common-sense gun safety protections -- this is not New Yorkers' focus right now."

Esposito, who is running on the statewide ticket with Rep. Lee Zeldin, said voters are more worried about issues surrounding crime, public safety and inflation.

"Their focus is how to put food on their table and making sure they don't fall victims to violent crimes," Esposito said. "She is not leading New York. She is pandering to her far left."

The comments were criticized by Hochul's campaign, charging they are out of touch according to recent polling.

“The Zeldin-Esposito ticket is too extreme to acknowledge that a majority of New Yorkers support common sense gun safety laws,” said Jen Goodman, a spokeswoman for Hochul's campaign. “In a year marked by one tragic mass shooting after another, New Yorkers want to feel safe in their communities, and making it easier to carry a gun is on the opposite side of where voters stand.”

Hochul has highlighted her backing of gun law measures, including the recent approval of a provision that raises the age to possess a permit for a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 and an expansion of the state's red flag laws. Tighter gun laws have generally broad support in the state, and Hochul signed the changes following a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket this spring.