Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, Harry Wilson and Rob Astorino face off in New York’s Republican gubernatorial debate

ALBANY — Four Republican candidates for governor of New York squared off in their first televised debate on Monday, trying to bruise each other — and Democrats — two weeks from the state’s primary election.

Some of the most heated exchanges of the night took place between US Representative Lee Zeldin and businessman Harry Wilson, who said he did not vote for Donald Trump in 2020.

Zeldin repeatedly attacked Wilson as a “Never Trumper” and a “Republican in name only”. The businessman responded by dismissing Zeldin as a “failed politician” and claimed that in January Zeldin asked him to be his running mate.

“Why is he dishonestly attacking me now? Because his campaign is falling apart,” Wilson said.

“I didn’t ask, and I wouldn’t ask Never Trumper Harry Wilson,” Zeldin said.

“Don’t lie,” said Wilson, who claimed to have notes of the conversation.

The Republican field also includes former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former New York mayor.

Giuliani, a former Trump adviser, appeared in a separate TV studio from other candidates as he was banned from being on the same stage after refusing to provide proof that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19 .

Giuliani said if elected he would restore the jobs of public servants fired for not being vaccinated. He pledged Monday to hold police accountable and called for a return to the “stop and frisk” policing tactic in New York City, which was scaled back by police after a judge ruled it had violated the civil rights of many law-abiding black people.

Astorino, a former radio industry professional and two-term Westchester County executive from 2010 to 2017, is running for governor for the second time. He promised to release an agenda to deal with New York’s steep job loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to tackle government corruption and the country’s high taxes and cost of living. State.

During the debate, each candidate was asked if they think Trump should run for president again and what they think of the ongoing congressional hearings into the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Astorino said Trump “bears some responsibility” for the insurgency, but said it was time for the country to move on.

Giuliani hailed Trump as a “great president” and pledged to do for New York what Trump did for the country.

Zeldin, a Trump ally and an Army veteran who has represented New York’s 1st congressional district since 2015, has touted his support of the National Rifle Association and said he wants to repeal a 2013 control law firearms that broadened the definition of assault weapons and demanded universality. background checks.

When asked if New York should ban guns in specific public places in the event the Supreme Court strikes down the state’s concealed carry restrictions, Zeldin said, “Gun-free zones don’t work. They actually become a target.”

Wilson, of Johnstown, entered the race this spring by launching a $12 million television advertising campaign.

He worked for Goldman Sachs and founded a consulting firm in White Plains, and also served as an adviser to the US Treasury Department under former President Barack Obama.

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Post expires at 7:28pm on Saturday June 25th, 2022