Kathy Hochul overcame a closer-than-expected contest and defeated Republican opponent Lee Zeldin on Tuesday to become the first woman to be elected governor of New York.
Shortly after 11 p.m., the Democratic incumbent, encouraged by the extensive voter participation in New York City, declared victory. and will now hold office for the entire four years.
Hochul addressed the crowd at Capitale, a Lower Manhattan event venue with Greek-style architecture and a glass ceiling, saying, “Tonight you made your voices heard loud and clear, and you made me the first woman to ever be elected the governor of the state of New York.”
But my goal is to change things, not to make history.
She said, “I will lead with power and compassion, not with fear and rage.
The Associated Press didn’t declare the race for Hochul until just before 1 a.m.
According to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections, Hochul kept a tight seven-point advantage.
Technical difficulties kept Zeldin’s native county of Suffolk from having its results calculated for most of the evening.
Before midnight, NBC and ABC called the race.
Hochul squared out against Zeldin, a congressman from Long Island with Donald Trump’s support and whose emphasis on crime bolstered his campaign to become the first Republican elected statewide in more than 20 years.
Even in deeply blue New York, Hochul’s victory was far from guaranteed.
Shortly after midnight, Zeldin addressed his supporters inside Cipriani in Midtown Manhattan, but he refused to give up.
Before urging supporters to take advantage of the open bar, he stated, “What’s going to happen is in the next couple of hours, you’re going to witness the race come closer and closer and closer and closer.”
He said, “We came to this with enthusiasm, to have a debate of ideas. “We remain steadfastly committed to finishing this. As these results become available, we hope to be successful.