NY Democratic Party, Gov. Hochul campaign laud election fraud allegations against GOP challenger Zeldin

Dem lawmaker accuses Zeldin campaign of submitting 14,000 'fake signatures' to run on Independent Party line

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign and the state Democratic Party are lauding election fraud allegations against Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin’s position on the ballot in November. 

Reached by Fox News Digital on Monday, a spokeswoman for the New York State Board of Elections declined to comment on allegations brought by either gubernatorial candidate, but she did confirm that of the signatures submitted for Zeldin to run on the Independent Party line -- in addition to the GOP ticket -- just 39,228 were validated, falling short of the 45,000 required. 

Nearly 13,000 others were deemed invalid for a swath of reasons, including duplicate signatures, voters not properly registered, or incorrect addresses, she said. She did not comment on whether any photocopied signatures were found. 

Last week, state Democratic Sen. Zellnor Myrie, chairman of the New York Senate Elections Committee, submitted a complaint to the Albany County District Attorney David Soares calling for a criminal investigation into Zeldin’s gubernatorial campaign, alleging the Republican’s camp had submitted 11,000 "fake signatures" to get on the Independence Party line. 

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The New York Democratic Party called the alleged action a "serious offense that could result in multiple charges, including felonies."  

Zeldin’s campaign previously denied ever making or having knowledge of any photocopied signatures. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin speaks during his "Save New York" rally in Brighton Beach on August 03, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York City. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin speaks during his "Save New York" rally in Brighton Beach on August 03, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York City.  (John Lamparski/Getty Images)

"In my role as Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, I have not hesitated to defend our system of elections from spurious allegations of fraud," Myrie said in a statement on Friday. "However, when actual election fraud appears to have occurred, as it does in this case, it is essential for the public trust that potential violations are investigated fully and swiftly."

In a statement to N.Y. Daily News, Hochul’s campaign manager Brian Lenzmeier noted how Zeldin, who represents New York’s first congressional district on Long Island, voted against certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory over former President Donald Trump ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

"After leading efforts to throw out the 2020 presidential election results over baseless conspiracy theories, Lee Zeldin is now implicated in an actual case of alleged election fraud, and this time it’s real," Lenzmeier said in a statement. "New Yorkers deserve to know how more than 11,000 photocopied petition signatures were submitted on behalf of Zeldin’s campaign and who oversaw the process."

"We know the facts — thousands of invalid ballot signatures were submitted to get Zeldin on the Independence Party line," Lenzmeier added. "This is a serious offense that could result in multiple charges, including felonies. Lee Zeldin owes it to the voters to come clean about what happened."

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference on August 03, 2022, in New York City. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference on August 03, 2022, in New York City.  (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fox News Digital reached out to Zeldin’s campaign on Monday seeking comment. 

Last month, the New York State Democratic Party reached out to Washington, D.C., asking the Jan. 6 committee to investigate Zeldin weeks after he won the state primary securing him as the GOP candidate to face former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successor in the November general election. 

Zeldin, who was attacked during a campaign stop last month, has been an outspoken critic of Hochul regarding the state’s controversial bail reform law that took effect at the start of 2020. 

Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, even called on Albany to address cashless bail measures, claiming they’ve driven up recidivism rates as violent offenders are repeatedly arrested and released back onto the streets. 

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital she was introducing legislation to address the release of repeat offenders at the federal level, arguing soaring violent crime won’t change much in New York unless Hochul is voted out and Zeldin sees a November victory. 

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In the first public poll conducted since the primary, Hochul showed "an early – but certainly not insurmountable – lead" over Zeldin, according to the survey conducted by Sienna College. Hochul was up by 14 percentage points, polling at 53% compared to Zeldin’s 39%.