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Tightening New York governor's race turning into bare-knuckle brawl between Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin

Hochul, Zeldin making race for governor a "bare-knuckle brawl"
Hochul, Zeldin making race for governor a "bare-knuckle brawl" 02:48

NEW YORK -- With just over three weeks until Election Day, the gloves are off in the tightening New York governor's race between Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin

It's turning into a bare-knuckle brawl. Republican challenger Zeldin is taking to the streets of New York to slam Hochul, while the well-funded Democratic governor is letting her commercials do the talking, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Monday. 

CBS2 got the first look at Hochul's seven-figure ad buy where she, not an announcer, takes the fight to her opponent. 

"The stakes in this election couldn't be higher. Lee Zeldin says he wants abortion outlawed, he'd repeal New York's common sense gun laws, and he even voted to overturn the 2020 election. That's who he is, but it's not who we are as New Yorkers," Hochul says in the ad.

Hochul is making full use of the powers of incumbency and a bulging campaign war chest to make her case to voters. The ad will start airing Tuesday around the state. 

For the most part, Hochul has ignored her scrappy challenger, using the same strategy her hard-charging predecessor employed. She's letting the powers of the office do the talking. 

Monday, Hochul signed legislation to combat the theft of catalytic converters on Long Island, Zeldin's home turf. She seemed unperturbed by a poll showing Zeldin slightly ahead there. 

"I always run like I'm down 10 or 12 points. It focuses me on the issues," said Hochul. 

Tri-State voter guide: Nov. 8 General Election details and deadlines

For his part, Zeldin was at a subway station in the Bronx where another rider was pushed to the tracks. Zeldin demanded that Hochul abandon congestion pricing until rider experience improves. But it was also about calling the governor out. 

"Kathy Hochul is a coward," said Zeldin. 

Zeldin was angry that the governor has agreed to only one debate on cable TV. But he also appeared frustrated about her so-called "Rose Garden strategy" of avoiding him by simply running the state. 

"Kathy Hochul is out trying to crawl across the finish line. She's trying to survive this election. I'm working as hard as I possibly can to do my part to save the state. Kathy Hochul is barely working to try to save Kathy Hochul," said Zeldin. 

But Zeldin seemed reluctant to embrace the enthusiastic endorsement he got over the weekend from former Pres. Donald Trump. 

"What this race is about is about Lee Zeldin against Kathy Hochul deciding the future of New York state. It's not about the former president," said Zeldin. 

Zeldin said he has no plans to campaign with Trump before Election Day. He dodged another question from Kramer asking if he will show up for the debate the governor agreed to. 

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