DeSantis has been applauded by touting his own record of avoiding Covid-19 vaccine mandates, criticizing state education policies teaching systemic racism and cracking down on protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020 using National Guard forces. He said Zeldin’s leadership — especially in areas of criminal justice — would stop emigration to his own state.
“I would say the number one thing I hear where people are so fed up is they are fed up with the crime that you see, especially in New York,” he added. “Florida is a state of law and order. I am a governor of law and order. If Lee Zeldin takes office, New York will become a state of law and order.
DeSantis is no friend of New York leaders — he and Gov. Kathy Hochul traded comments on his comments that some Republicans in the state should take a bus to Florida — and his role in sending migrants in the form of political statements in major cities cause grief to elected officials in New York.
“I would love to see him come in there and unleash your own energy here in upstate New York,” DeSantis said of Zeldin. “So I think this is an important choice for New York State. Do you want to continue on the path you’re on – the path that has seen you bleed people, wealth, etc. Or do you want to try a different direction?
Florida overtook New York as the nation’s third-largest state in 2014.
The Zeldin campaign has gained momentum in recent weeks with promises to aggressively crack down on crime, boosted by millions of dollars from outside groups.
In response, Hochul’s campaign pivoted to emphasize his work on crime and economic issues. State and national Democrats rallied frantically to bolster the Hochul campaign’s presence in vulnerable areas, including New York. Former President Barack Obama supported “his friend” Hochul in a radio ad Friday encouraging New Yorkers to vote.
Zeldin, in front of jubilant audiences on Saturday, feigned concern that national celebrities had begun to weigh in on the attacks on him, citing the actor Twitter response from Mark Ruffalo to Zeldin’s promise to overturn the state’s ban on fracking if elected.
“Leonardo DiCaprio retweeted it,” he said. “I was crushed. I was humiliated. And then Amy Schumer tweeted me. And I just needed to hang out with my friends tonight to recover from the devastating impact.
Hochul’s campaign blasted DeSantis’ visit and a planned Zeldin rally Monday with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, saying it’s another example of Zeldin’s conservative stances in the heavily blue state.
“Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin are prime examples of far-right Republicans who have worked to roll back abortion rights and bring more guns to their communities,” Hochul spokesman Jerrel said. Harvey, in a statement. “Lee Zeldin is cut from the same extremist cloth.”