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Republican candidates rally with Broome County GOP

The entire slate of Republican candidates for statewide elected office stumped in Broome County Tuesday.

Republican candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, headlined the Broome County Republicans' clambake in Vestal, where he touched on his vision for revitalizing economically depressed areas of the state. That includes repealing the state’s statutory ban on natural gas fracking.

“This state can be prosperous again, but it's going to take all of us together, Republicans, Democrats, independents,” Zeldin said.

Several candidates also highlighted the county’s weight in regional races for Congress and state Senate. Broome County has the most registered voters in the newly drawn 19th Congressional District, with almost 120,000 active voters as of February figures from the state Board of Elections. That’s more than double that of Tompkins County, which has the second largest number of active voters in the district.

Republican Dutchess County executive and 19th District candidate Marc Molinaro drove to Vestal for Tuesday’s clambake, the first of two planned visits to Broome County in as many days.

"We need to put an end to the one-party majority control and the road to victory goes through Broome County,” Republican state Senate candidate and former Binghamton Mayor Rich David told the crowd.

David is facing former Binghamton City Council Member Lea Webb in a district where 60% of the vote went to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Other speakers at the event included U.S. Senate candidate Joe Pinion, state comptroller candidate Paul Rodriguez, attorney general candidate Michael Henry, state Assembly candidate Sophia Resciniti, and Broome County sheriff candidate Fred Akshar.

In response to a question from WSKG, Zeldin did not contest that merchandise being sold by his campaign with the phrase, “We’re not done,” was a reference to an attack on the congressman outside Rochester earlier this year. David Jakubonis, a former veteran, is in jail on federal assault charges stemming from the incident. In a video, Jakubonis said, "You're done," repeatedly as he approached Zeldin. He had been seeking treatment for alcoholism and mental illness associated with his military service.

“When I was backstage, there were, on July 21st, there were people talking about the rest of the weekend and they said, ‘Are we going to cancel the rallies for the rest of the weekend?’ No, absolutely not,” Zeldin said.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.