Ronald Lauder, the heir to Estée Lauder’s cosmetics empire, may have changed the outcome of NY State’s gubernatorial election with a lifesaving injection of $11 million into the campaign of Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.
“Lee Zeldin was roadkill and then Ronald Lauder came along,” a New York political strategist told the Financial Times on Sunday, adding, “Win or lose, he owes his entire campaign to him. No one else was there.”
A NY Times Magazine reported on Sunday, “There is little doubt that Mr. Lauder has single-handedly tilted the playing field for his party. Since he began spending on a barrage of attack ads, Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic incumbent, has watched polling and fund-raising advantages that once looked insurmountable dwindle. And Democrats fighting to hold the House of Representatives have seen their blue firewall crumble.”
According to the NY Post, “the New York Times is desperately trying to figure out how the world turned upside-down. Its latest villain: Gazillionaire Ron Lauder, who had the gall big-time to donate to independent committees supporting challenger Lee Zeldin.”
Lauder told the Times in a sit-down interview that his main reason for supporting the Republican candidate was that he fears rising crime is driving people from NY city, and wants to capitalize on an unusually favorable political climate to try to revive New York’s lifeless Republican party whose record of losses is long and disparaging.
“It’s a question of one thing I believe in, always have,” Lauder reiterated. “I want two parties. I want a Republican and a Democratic Party. When you have just one party, I believe things go wrong.”
The Safe Together NY Super PAC, and Save Our State NY Super PAC have been using Lauder’s money to buy ads attacking Hochul on rising crime and offering desperately needed cash to the Zeldin campaign.
It appears that the same rise in crime and violence that ushered Benjamin Netanyahu into his new coalition government, together with MKs Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, could topple a sitting Democratic governor in NY State.
The polls are still showing Hochul with an advantage over Zeldin, although the trend is a constant rise of the Republican candidate, including one tie. Nate Silver, who runs fivethirtyeight.com, predicted a Republican sweep on Tuesday (that’s tomorrow to you and me) but hesitated to give Zeldin the win. In the end, it’ll be a toss-up for New Yorkers between voting their blue brand and voicing their rage at the state of crime on their block.
According to the Times, Hochul amassed a $50 million war chest from her biggest donors, which included Leonard Lauder, Ronald’s older brother. Zeldin barely raised half that, but Ron Lauder took care of this gap with heavy payments to the Republican’s super PACs.
Now it’s up to you, our New York readers (The Jewish Press enthusiastically supports Rep. Lee Zeldin).