BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The polls open in a matter of hours and the candidates for New York’s highest office were back on the campaign trail Monday, vying for votes. They pushed their own party to head to the polls on Tuesday and tried to sway undecided voters.
Congressman Lee Zeldin was in Nassau County on Long Island while Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Downtown Buffalo.
Gov. Hochul touched on topics such as the Tops Mass Shooting, the importance of her family’s ties to the labor unions in Western New York, and about breaking glass ceilings for women in politics. She spoke about her 14 month term as the state’s leader and what she believes her administration has accomplished.
“I’m fighting for those same Democratic values that have lifted people up for decades. We fight for our seniors. We fight for our working men. We invest in our children. We create tons of jobs. We invest in healthcare. We take care of our people. It’s that simple,” Gov. Hochul said.
Congressman Zeldin discussed topics such as bail reform law, energy security and balance in Congress and in Albany. He says balance will be restored on Tuesday.
“We were the ones who came out with our common sense message about how to restore balance back to Washington, D.C. to save our country. About how we were going to restore balance back to Albany to save our state,” Congressman Zeldin said.
This election is a tight race with the latest Emerson College-Nexstar poll showing Gov. Hochul ahead by eight points. Congressman Zeldin tightened the gap in October with some polls showing just a 6% Hochul lead. She held a 15% point lead over the Long Island Congressman in September.
This election will be historic no matter which candidate wins. Gov. Hochul is trying to become the first woman ever elected governor in New York. She is the first female to ever hold the office. She is also trying to be the first Upstate Governor elected in more than a century. Nathan Miller, who was from Cortland County, was the last one to take the reins in 1920.
“I didn’t come here to make history. I came here to make a difference,” Gov. Hochul said.
Congressman Zeldin could make history of his own. He is hoping to be the first Republican elected to the office since Gov. George Pataki, who left Albany Jan. 1, 2007.
“We are just getting started. We’re going to get to work for the next 24 hours,” Congressman Zeldin encouraged his supporters.
Both candidates say the stakes have never been higher for an election.
“We are going to save our state. Losing is not an option,” Congressman Zeldin said.
“I come here with a heart full of love for you as well and I will not let you down,” Gov. Hochul added.
The polls across New York State will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday. In Erie County, about 88,000 voters have already cast a ballot, including 77,077 people who made their voice heard during the nine day early voting period. More than 10,000 absentee ballots have been returned. About 14% of registered voters have already made their decisions. If you need to look up where to vote, click or tap here to visit the state Board of Elections website.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.