New York gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin attacked at rally

Editor’s note: Since the publication of this story, a man has been charged with attempted assault over the incident. The story has been updated to include additional information about the attack, but you can read updates about the charge here


Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, was attacked by a man wielding a sharp object during a campaign event Thursday, according to Zeldin and video of the event posted on social media. Zeldin said he was not seriously injured, and the perpetrator was taken into custody.

“I’m OK,” Zeldin said in a statement. “Fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him.”

Zeldin, who will face off against incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in November, said he was speaking to supporters in Fairport, New York, when the man tried to attack him. Zeldin said he was able to finish his speech after law enforcement took the man into custody. He did not provide any information about the alleged attacker.  

Video appeared to show a man approach Zeldin while he was speaking on stage. The man, who held what appeared to be a small, sharp object in one hand, stopped briefly before bringing his hand near Zeldin’s face. Zeldin can then be seen grabbing the man’s wrist before he is subdued. 

Former National Security Council Russia Expert Fiona Hill Testifies Before House Committees
Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican from New York, speaks to members of the media before a closed-door testimony with Fiona Hill, former National Security Council Russia expert, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. 

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images


His spokesperson said all members of Zeldin’s team, including the nominee for lieutenant governor, Alison Esposito, were safe. 

“This is very much getting out of hand in this state,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “Unfortunately, Congressman Zeldin is just the latest New Yorker whose life has been affected by the out of control crime and violence in New York. This needs to stop!” 

Hochul released a statement on Twitter saying she was “relieved to hear” Zeldin was not hurt.

“I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York,” she wrote. 

Zeldin is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has represented Long Island since 2015, according to The Associated Press. He is an ally of former President Trump and voted against certifying the 2020 election results, the AP said.

New York state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy told The Associated Press that he didn’t have any further information on the incident but he did exchange text messages with Zeldin after the attack, as the congressman spoke to police.
 
“He is fine. He’s not seriously injured. It’s just a chaotic scene there,” Langworthy told the AP. He said Zeldin sustained “a little scrape,” but nothing he’d consider an injury.





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