Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor of New York, was attacked Thursday by a man wielding a sharp object at a campaign event, according to Zeldin and video of the event posted on social media. Zeldin said he was not seriously injured, and the perpetrator was taken into custody.
“I’m fine,” Zeldin said in a statement. “Luckily I was able to grab his wrist and hold him back for a while until others attacked him.”
Zeldin, who will face incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul in November, said he was speaking with supporters in Fairport, New York, when the man attempted to attack him. Zeldin said he was able to finish his speech after police took the man into custody. He did not provide any information about the alleged attacker.
Video appeared to show a man approaching Zeldin as he spoke onstage. The man, who seemed to be holding a small, sharp object in one hand, paused before bringing his hand to Zeldin’s face. Zeldin can then be seen grabbing the man’s wrist before being subdued.
His spokesman said all members of Zeldin’s team, including lieutenant governor candidate Alison Esposito, were safe.
“This is getting very out of hand in this state,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “Unfortunately, Congresswoman Zeldin is just the latest New Yorker whose life has been impacted by the rampant crime and violence in New York. This has got to stop!”
Hochul released a statement on Twitter saying she was “relieved to hear” that Zeldin was not injured.
“I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest possible terms – it has no place in New York,” she wrote.
Zeldin is a lieutenant colonel of the Army Reserve who has represented Long Island since 2015, according to The Associated Press. He is an ally of former President Trump and voted against certifying the 2020 election results, the AP said.
New York State GOP chairman Nick Langworthy told The Associated Press he had no further information about the incident, but he did exchange text messages with Zeldin after the attack, while the congressman spoke to police.
“He’s fine. He’s not seriously injured. It’s just a chaotic scene there,” Langworthy told the AP. He said Zeldin suffered “a little bit of scrapes,” but nothing he would consider an injury.