Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin is the presumed Republican nominee for governor in next year's election, and he already has a prediction for who his opponent will be -- not Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Zeldin's money, so to speak, is on Attorney General Letitia James, who recently launched her primary challenge to Hochul and is already rolling up endorsements.
“We believe that she is most likely to be our opponent for the general election," Zeldin told Spectrum News 1 Albany's "Capital Tonight" program Thursday night.
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Though Zeldin has not officially locked up the nomination, the state Republican Party has already anointed him their "presumed" nominee, based on a straw poll of county party leaders.
Zeldin, a conservative and staunch Donald Trump ally, announced his bid for governor in April -- when it seemed he might still be challenging then-incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the job in 2022.
But Cuomo's resignation and the ascendancy of now-Gov. Hochul shook up the race. Zeldin, an Army veteran and former state senator now in his fourth term in Congress, also faces a primary challenge from Andrew Giuliani, the son of former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
If Zeldin gets past Giuliani, he could face James, or Hochul, or other potential candidates like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Rep. Tom Suozzi -- or perhaps even a resurgent Cuomo, who has so far denied any intent to try and reclaim the office.