PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Congressman Lee Zeldin was attacked at a campaign event Thursday night. Zeldin is the Republican candidate for governor in New York State.
Witnesses say Zeldin, 42, was giving a speech about bail reform at the VFW on Macedon Center Road in Perinton when a man got on stage, started yelling and “wrestled with him a bit, and pulled a blade out.” The congressman’s campaign said Zeldin grabbed the attacker’s wrist to stop him until others assisted in taking the attacker down to the ground.
American Veterans National Director Joe Chenelly reportedly stopped the alleged attacker. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the man was taken into custody.
A witness who was with Zeldin after the attack said Zeldin was not hurt and took the stage again when it was over. The lawmaker released the following statement Thursday night:
“Thank you to everyone who reached out following tonight’s attack in Fairport. Someone tried to stab me on stage during this evening’s rally, but fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him. I’m ok, and Alison Esposito, and all other attendees are safe. The attacker is in custody. Grateful for the attendees who stepped up quickly to assist and the law enforcement officers who quickly responded. I’m as resolute as ever to do my part to make New York safe again. This suspect will likely be right back out on the street immediately.”
Zeldin has represented New York’s 1st District since 2015. The representative, along with his lieutenant governor candidate Alison Esposito, is currently campaigning for November’s race. Zeldin’s campaign bills itself on a referendum on several issues in the state and advertises itself with the tagline, “Save Our State.”
Zeldin will face incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in this year’s gubernatorial election. Zeldin is a vocal critic of Hochul, who he recently called “a Pez dispenser of corruption.” Zeldin highlights his efforts to end COVID-19 safety mandates and opposing gun law reform as achievements during his time as representative.
Hochul responded to the attack on Twitter, saying “…Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody. I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York.”