NEW YORK — U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for New York governor, was attacked by a man who apparently tried to stab him at an upstate event Thursday but the congressman managed to escape uninjured, his campaign said.
Zeldin was giving a speech when a man climbed onstage and appeared to begin wrestling with the congressman, said Katie Vincentz, a spokesperson for his campaign. A video of the event in Perinton posted on Twitter showed the man appearing to grab Zeldin’s arm before the two fall to the ground as other people try to intervene.
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.
New York GOP Chair Nick Langworthy told The Associated Press that he didn’t have any details on the attacker or his weapon but exchanged text messages with Zeldin afterward while the congressman was speaking to police.
“He is fine. He’s not seriously injured. It’s just a chaotic scene there,” Langworthy said.
Langworthy said Zeldin had “just a little scrape” but it wasn’t what anyone would consider an injury. The chair said he was told that Zeldin’s running mate, former New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Alison Esposito, was there and among those who helped to subdue the man.
Langworthy is calling on Hochul to issue a security detail for Zeldin to protect him on the campaign trail.
“This could have gone a lot worse. This could have really ended in a horrible way tonight and this is unacceptable,” he said.
Hochul, in a statement, condemned the attack and said she was “relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody.”
Zeldin, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015, is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and was among the Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.