How to watch the N.Y. governor’s race debate between Hochul, Zeldin

Gov. Hochul is set to square off against her Republican challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin, on Tuesday night in the race’s only scheduled TV debate, a one-hour showdown on Spectrum News NY1.

The debate arrives two weeks ahead of Election Day, and after a bit of gamesmanship by the candidates: Hochul waited until late September to agree to appear in the debate, and Zeldin — demanding more debates — only agreed to join on Sunday.

The tilt is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT at Pace University in lower Manhattan. A pair of political anchors, Errol Louis and Susan Arbetter, have been tapped to moderate.

New Yorkers can tune in on TV or online on the Spectrum News app. They can also listen in on WNYC 93.9 FM/820 AM, or on the WYNC website. Upstate listeners can turn their dial to WAMC 90.3 FM.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin

Though Hochul, a 64-year-old Democrat, is seen as a heavy favorite in deep-blue New York, Zeldin has charged from behind in recent weeks, according to opinion polls.

Some recent surveys have shown Hochul’s lead dwindling to the single digits, with voters’ fixation on two troubling issues — crime and inflation — apparently boosting Republicans’ chances in races across the nation.

Hochul, who succeeded former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he resigned last year amid a hail of sexual harassment allegations, has guided the state through much of the pandemic.

She managed the state’s response to an omicron COVID winter, signed new gun control laws and abortion rights measures, and reached a deal with lawmakers to tweak the state’s controversial bail reforms.

But Zeldin, a 42-year-old lawyer from Shirley, L.I., has argued that the bail reform changes did not go far enough, and has blamed Hochul for elevated pandemic crime rates that, in some categories, continue to climb.

He has promised to declare a state of emergency to suspend criminal justice reforms if elected, and has blitzed the five boroughs in an aggressive campaign.

In an incendiary statement announcing his participation in the debate, Zeldin said Hochul “was never even elected Governor, New Yorkers aren’t her apostles, she is not the mother of the state’s counties, and the people want to be in charge of their own government again.”

“I hope the moderators address rising crime, cashless bail and other pro-criminal laws,” Zeldin said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Hochul has sought to highlight Zeldin’s anti-abortion views and his vote to overturn the 2020 presidential election lost by former President Donald Trump. (Trump has endorsed Zeldin.)

And after engaging in little retail campaigning this fall, the governor has begun to rev up her efforts, perhaps in response to the tightening poll numbers.

She visited Manhattan’s Chelsea Market on Tuesday morning, shaking hands with New Yorkers — tourists, too — ahead of the debate.

“The voters love to see us, and we love to see them,” she told reporters at the shopping center, moments before offering a prediction about the race’s finish.

“I’ll win,” Hochul said. “But I don’t have any doubt that they’ll try to question the results.”

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