WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- With the Labor Day holiday passed, Democrats in Western New York said the general election campaign season for governor is in full swing.
Erie County Democratic Committee Chair Jeremy Zellner said, working closely with Gov. Kathy Hochul's campaign, they decided to illustrate why they believe Republican candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin is too extreme.
"I think New Yorkers are ready to move on and I think that us sounding the alarm today that Lee Zeldin is not your grandfather's Republican resonates," he said.
Zellner, with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and state Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, focus on three key points. First, they said Zeldin proudly accepts support from former President Donald Trump, and as a member of Congress, voted against certifying 2020 presidential election results in two states.
"What happens when individuals like this continue to perpetuate a lie and want to be the governor of New York? We know what happens," Poloncarz said. "They will follow the same playbook as Donald Trump, disregarding not only the U.S. Constitution but the New York constitution."
Second, they said Zeldin's stance on abortion rights doesn't jive with the majority of New Yorkers.
She warned the candidate has signaled he would be interested in appointing a health commissioner who does not support abortion rights, even as the Zeldin campaign has downplayed those comments.
"He's basically telling women in this New York state that he cares more about his radical agenda than he does about their health care," Wallace said.
Finally, in a region where earlier this year a mass shooter murdered 10 Black people, Poloncarz condemned Zeldin for voting in Congress against a federal assault weapons ban.
"He spit in the face of every family that lost a loved one on May 14. He spit in the face of all the families down in Uvalde and every other place its happened across our great land," he said.
New York State Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy said Democrats are trying to focus on Zeldin because Hochul's own record as governor is lackluster.
"You can tell how badly the Democrats are afraid of losing when the only things they want to talk about are guns, abortion and Trump. That's all they have because they can't talk about the job they've done here in New York," he said.