U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for New York governor, was assaulted by a man who tried to stab him at an upstate event Thursday but the congressman escaped serious injury.
“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.”
His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were “you’re done”, but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy.
Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes.
The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws. pic.twitter.com/wZEyIyrjFe
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 22, 2022
Zeldin’s campaign said the attacker was taken into custody and the congressman continued his speech. He is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul this November.
My team has informed me about the incident at Lee Zeldin's campaign event tonight. 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.
— Kathy Hochul (@KathyHochul) July 22, 2022
The attacker climbed onto a low stage where the congressman spoke to a crowd of dozens outside Rochester, flanked by bales of hay and American flags. A video posted on Twitter shows the two falling to the ground as other people try to intervene.
Among those who helped to subdue the attacker was Zeldin’s running mate, former New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Alison Esposito, said state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy.
“He is fine. He’s not seriously injured. It’s just a chaotic scene there,” Langworthy said. He said Zeldin had “just a little scrape” but it wasn’t what anyone would consider an injury.
Zeldin, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Republican NY governor candidate Lee Zeldin was attacked at an event but not injured – NPR
- Rep. Lee Zeldin attacked at Perinton campaign stop – Rochester First
- Lee Zeldin’s would-be attacker ‘tackled’ by group of bystanders: ‘He had a blade on his hand’ – Fox News
- Lee Zeldin, GOP nominee for NY governor, assaulted at rally – The Associated Press