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GOP Candidates for NY Governor Face Off

On February 9, preceding the New York State Republican Party Convention, a virtual gubernatorial candidates’ town hall was held.

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, introducing six candidates, opened, “We have the largest crowd for a town-hall meeting. It shows interest to change New York. When I ran for chairman, I said that the only way that we could change New York is to change governors.”

Candidates gave opening statements. All listed crime, taxes, education, out-migration, corruption and COVID mandates as the most important issues. Each candidate answered similar questions, expanding their positions.

Former Trump White House Adviser Andrew Giuliani described his campaign. At NASCAR (with its famous “Brandon” chant), he met not just Republicans, but independents and Democrats. At Empire Farm Days, independent and Democrat farm owners talk about parents as primary stakeholders in education and voucher programs. “We look at Florida’s $97 billion budget and a million more people, and this proposed $216 billion boondoggle. In her State of State speech, Governor Hochul only mentioned crime at 18:00, halfway through, and never mentioned cashless bail.”

Giuliani also proposed cleaning up mass transit. He noted that crime, taxes and costs of doing business drive out-migration. He revealed, “It costs seven times less to build a New Jersey school than New York City, embedded within union contracts, corruption and regulation.”

Giuliani would eliminate COVID mandates for a developmental standpoint, noting: “90% of communication is nonverbal. That’s why Democrat politicians take off their masks.” He would rehire all employees fired because of mandates. Referencing the congressional proportional representation and two senators per state, he would replace 53 state senators, with 62, representing each county.

Congressman Lee Zeldin, an Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, served in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne division and lives a half-mile from where he grew up. Prior to serving in Congress, he was a state senator. He opened: “The bad news is that we’re faced with a one-party Democratic role in D.C., Albany and New York City. The good news is, come November, I believe we can have the greatest Republican wave of our lifetime. Around the state, I’m hearing voters at their breaking point. After a Nassau County rally recently with Bruce Blakeman, I was sure that North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Texas aren’t holding rallies about moving to New York because of attacks on our wallets, safety, freedom and kids’ education. We have to reverse those attacks and save our state. For me, that’s not a slogan. The Democrats’ redistricting disregards the people’s will.”

On energy, Zeldin supports tapping into our own natural resources. In terms of education, he supports charter schools, gifted/talented programs, school-choice tax credits, not pitting kids against each other based on race. And when it comes to the police, he unapologetically backs the blue, and urges Albany to pass a law enforcement Bill of Rights.

Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino touted his bipartisan record in that position earns him the nomination. He said, “You pray for one good issue, and we get a dozen issues.”

Astorino supports fracking and natural gas exploration, which he believes “will open up a lot, bringing back manufacturing and building corporate mills.” He chided the former lieutenant governor for turning “a blind eye to all the pay-to-play corruption we knew was going on under the Prince of Darkness himself,” referencing Hochul receiving $21 million in campaign donations, so far.

Harry Wilson was the 2010 Republican candidate for state comptroller. He remarked: “The Democrat Party is not the party of the working class it may have been once upon a time. It is the party of selfish special interests. As a result, they’re harming the most vulnerable in our society— the elderly—as Andrew Cuomo did with the nursing home scandal, and children, as Hochul continues to do with mask mandates.

Businessman Derrick Gibson views homelessness, mental illness and drug abuse as precursors to higher crime rates. He also strongly opposes “illegal aliens” in New York.

Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli, a 21-year Rochester policeman, is the first candidate from the North Country. He lamented lifetime friends leaving the state. “I’ve seen businesses not succeed. I’ve watched people pass away during this pandemic, under the effects of our former governor. All they’ve done is create a bigger welfare state.

Carpinelli turned his attention to law enforcement. “You know what’s bad for blue?” he asked. “It’s Black Lives Matter, a terrorist group. Gangs coming over the border aren’t being stopped.” Concerning mask mandates, he said: “Nobody can be forced to wear a mask in New York. My agency never detained anybody for not wearing a mask. We won’t do it. It’s not a law.” Regarding Hochul, he said: “I believe the governor is corrupt. There’s no way to raise $21 million in six months, unless you’re selling favors out of the governor’s mansion. Let’s get New York State one more chance.”

The GOP State Convention will be held on February 28-March 1. The primary is on June 28.

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