Rep. Li Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, was attacked by a man wielding a sharp object during a campaign event on Thursday, according to video of the event posted by Zeldin and 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 stop him for a moment until someone else grabbed him.”
Zeldin, who is set to confront incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in November, said he was talking to supporters in Fairport, New York, when the man tried to attack him. Zeldin said he was able to finish his speech after law enforcement took the man into custody. He did not provide any information about the alleged attacker.
The video appears to show a man approaching Zelding as he speaks on stage. The man held a small seemingly sharp object in one hand, paused for a moment, and then brought his hand close to Zelding’s face. Zeldin can then be seen grabbing his wrist before he is subdued.
All members of Zeldin’s team, including lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Alison Esposito, are safe, his spokesman said.
“This is very out of control in this state,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “Unfortunately, Assemblyman Zeldin is just the latest New Yorker to be affected by out-of-control crime and violence in New York. This needs to stop!”
Hocher said in a statement on Twitter that she was “relieved” to hear that Zelding was not injured.
“I condemn this violence in the strongest terms – it has no place in New York,” she wrote.
Zeldin, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has represented Long Island since 2015, according to the Associated Press. The Associated Press said he, an ally of former President Trump, voted against proving the 2020 election result.
New York Republican Chairman Nick Longworthy told The Associated Press that he did not have any further information about the incident, but he did exchange text messages with Zeldin after the attack as the congressman spoke to police. “He’s fine. He wasn’t seriously injured. There was just chaos,” Longworthy told The Associated Press. He said Zelding was “a little bruised” but he didn’t think he was injured.