Democrat Kathy Hochul has black voters to thank for saving her governorship from tough Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, according to an analysis of the election results.
While Zeldin’s law and order campaign made inroads with formerly blue-leaning Asian, Jewish and Latino voters, black voters were Hochul’s firewall in southeast Queens, central of Brooklyn, Harlem and parts of the Bronx, according to the analysis.
Hochul garnered 90% or more of the vote in many of the city’s predominantly African-American and Afro-Caribbean neighborhoods — the same working-class and middle-class voters who propelled Mayor Eric Adams last year.
“Oh, absolutely. Oh, the black community definitely elected Kathy Hochul governor,” said State Assemblywoman Inez Dickens. In Dickens’ 70th Assembly District, residents got 27,968 votes for Hochul and only 2,287 for Zeldin.
According to Dickens, Zeldin is too closely associated with former President Donald Trump for black voters — and not seen as a moderate in the mold of former three-term GOP Governor George Pataki. Trump endorsed Zeldin just weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
“If Zeldin was a Pataki Republican, he would have done better,” said the veteran Harlem politician. “He was seen as a Trumper by black voters. That was a very, very big part of that.
Here is a revealing breakdown of the results in predominantly black neighborhoods:
- In Queens Assembly District 29, covering Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, Hochul garnered 22,280 votes to Zeldin’s 2,538.
- In AD 32 (South Jamaica, Richmond Hill), Hochul received 18,312 votes to Zeldin’s 2,176.
- In 33 AD (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village, Bellerose), Hochul got 21,773 votes to Zeldin’s 3,691.
- In Year 56 from Brooklyn to Bedford-Stuyvesant, voters showered Hochul with 25,289 votes to Zeldin’s 1,590.
- In AD 55 covering Ocean Hill/Brownsville, Hochul racked up 15,774 votes to Zeldin’s 1,044.
- In AD 57 in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights, residents cast 34,642 votes for Hochul and 2,940 for Zeldin.
- In 60 AD in East NY/Starrett City, Hochul got 17,588 votes to Zeldin’s 1,774.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said, like other New Yorkers, black voters are concerned about crime – but focusing on locking people up is seen as a ‘fantasy’ and a “dog whistle” with no discussion of youth opportunities and programs aimed at discouraging law breaking.
“You can have justice and security at the same time,” Richards said. “We cannot control and incarcerate for crime. There is a question of access to good jobs, housing and education.
“The Zeldin campaign reminded black voters of Trump,” he added.
Both Richards and Dickens pointed out that Hochul was well known in their communities, having visited regularly for years when she was lieutenant governor under the ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned last year following accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“Governor. Hochul doesn’t need GPS to know where southern Queens is. She’s been a constant and attentive presence,” Richards said.
In Pataki’s view, it is a cruel irony that the Emancipation Party that freed black people from slavery is now being rejected by black voters.
“We need to do much better outreach,” Pataki said. “We need to make the case in the streets of African American (communities) every day — not just during an election — that our policies are better for them,” Pataki said.
Blacks are disproportionately victimized by crime, so the GOP’s push to toughen the cashless bail law should resonate, along with the party’s support for charter schools as an alternative to failing public schools, Pataki said.
Zeldin, just before and after the election, told the Post he’s proud of making inroads in minority communities, but said he’s becoming more competitive with black voters in a “longer-term issue” the GOP needs to solve.
“We were seeing shifting trends among some of the minority communities, so it’s possible that in two or four years one of these groups will lean more to the right, especially if the one-party rule in Albany continues to alienate these voters,” Zeldin said. “If the issues we’re talking about in this campaign only become even more pervasive and desperately in need of action, that takes even more votes away from Democrats.”
“So I would look to build on the number we got, just over 30,” he said. “But part of it has to do with direct outreach and relationship building. I would always encourage starting earlier so that you can build those relationships. And one of the other important factors is that there are certainly trends that we’ve seen where certain groups might naturally vote more Republican in the future if they continue to be pushed in that direction by certain Democratic policies.
Hochul carried New York with 70% of the vote to Zeldin’s 30%, a margin he couldn’t overcome despite winning nearly every other county in the state, including his home territory of Long Island.
Zeldin carried some of the city’s Assembly neighborhoods with large Orthodox and Asian Jewish populations, and fared better in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods.
The Long Island Congressman beat conservative Staten Island 2-1 and won six Assembly Districts in South Brooklyn and four in Queens – including Assemblyman Ron Kim’s 40th AD at heart of Flushing, densely populated in Asia.
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