May 20, 2024

In the primary races for governor of New York, the candidates in each party naturally have some common alliances but also some surprising differences.

Of the four Republican candidates, for example, one would shun possible support from the former President Donald J. Trump. The three Democratic hopefuls adamantly disagree on how to approach New York’s affordability crunch.

And the candidates’ bagel preferences? All over the map.

With early voting already underway and just days to go before New York’s June 28 primaries, Democrats and Republicans are locked in sharp contests of ideology, experience and taste that will help determine the future of New York State as it tries to move past the coronavirus pandemic.

The winners are most likely headed toward the most competitive general election the state has seen in two decades, in which voters will decide whether to extend Democrats’ 16-year hold on the governor’s mansion, or make a course correction in Albany.

On the Democratic side, Gov. Kathy Hochul has the upper hand against both Jumaane D. Williams, the progressive New York City public advocate, and Representative Thomas R. Suozzi, a Long Island centrist. But the three have put forward conflicting Democratic Party visions on how to fix the housing crisis, fight crime, and win back voters exiting the party.

Who will emerge as the Republican nominee remains anyone’s guess. Representative Lee Zeldin, who hails from Suffolk County, has the official endorsements of the Republican and Conservative parties, but he has faced spirited challenges from Harry Wilson, Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former New York City mayor. All four Republicans want to end New York’s cashless bail law, but they sharply diverge on questions of abortion rights, the 45th president, and where “upstate” actually begins.

Our political reporters questioned each of the candidates in the races’ final weeks to get an idea of their positions. Here are edited excerpts from the interviews.

The Democrats

Kathy Hochul, 63, served nearly six years as lieutenant governor before assuming the governorship last August when Andrew M. Cuomo resigned. She has the official endorsement of the state’s Democratic Party.

Thomas R. Suozzi, 59, is a former Nassau County executive who is in his third term representing a Long Island swing district in Congress.

Jumaane D. Williams, 46, has been the New York City public advocate since 2019, and in 2018, he nearly defeated Ms. Hochul in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

What will you do to speed the transition away from fossil fuels and guarantee New York a clean, renewable energy future?

Suozzi: I will provide incentives to homeowners, vehicle owners, landlords, businesses and utilities to incentivize renewable energy and efficiency.

Williams: Unfortunately, this past legislative session was probably the worst for climate — just abysmal. As public advocate, I supported funding the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, including trying to urge the state to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy, including supporting the Build Public Renewables Act. Also, we need an immediate moratorium on “proof of work” crypto mining.

Hochul: I’m really proud that my first month on the job, I was able to make a significant commitment of $4.2 billion through a bond act, which we’re going to have on the ballot this November. We hope voters will support this to give us the resources to build climate resilience and to protect our environment. It’s about creating green energy jobs as well.

Also, we just authorized two transmission lines to bring clean energy power into New York City that is going to wean us off fossil fuels. These are the equivalent of two more Niagara power authorities. This is transformational. They’ll be operational by 2027.

Credit…Cindy Schultz for The New York Times

As governor, how would you address elevated crime in New York’s cities?

Suozzi: I have a 15-point crime intervention and prevention plan to fix bail reform and give judges the discretion to consider the dangerousness of the defendants coming before them. I’ll address mental health not only for homeless people but for the over one million people suffering from severe mental health challenges. I’ll support community policing and violence interruption, and I will dramatically reform our schools to include the provision of health and human services.

Williams: I’m proud to have been a leader in this space, helping to get New York State from where we were in 2012 to where we were in 2018. Stops of young Black men went down. Use of force went down. Arrests went down. Complaints of use of force went down. And shootings and murders went down.

So on the supply side, we definitely need to see if we can pass more that prevents these guns from coming in the first place, but I think where we always don’t structure and fund properly is on the demand side to stop people from using these guns in the first place. Which is why we asked for $1 billion to be put in this budget specifically for gun-violence prevention and victim services. And we couldn’t get it.

Hochul: We just passed 10 nation-leading bills on gun safety, focusing not just on mass shootings but the everyday street shootings. We need some time for those to start having the effect that’s intended. But it’s also about making sure that our subways are safe, so people will go back to their jobs, and letting people know that, you know, there’s no tolerance for these crimes.

We can have justice and we can have safety. They truly can go hand in hand. We are not going backward on criminal justice reforms, but we’ve also made sure that we deal with the fact that it’s just too easy to get a gun.

How would you revive New York’s subway system: Increase state funding, raise fares or cut service?

Suozzi: I think that’s a false choice. The most important thing is to increase ridership, which requires us to make the subway safer. People cannot afford a fare increase right now. Reducing services is antithetical to both our economic recovery and our climate change objectives. And we already have the highest taxes in the United States of America. So we have to use existing funds, including funds from the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure deal that I helped negotiate.

Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

Williams: I’m very surprised to hear some of the opposition from Albany for congestion pricing. That’s one way of trying to slow down the use of cars and actually raise revenue for the M.T.A. Everyone would benefit from a cleaner, more on-time subway system and, frankly, a bus system as well.

Hochul: The M.T.A. is the lifeblood. We will be focusing on ways to generate revenues with congestion pricing. That is back on track after a few hiccups with the federal government. We have no fare increases planned, because we want people to come back to work.

But also, people have to feel safe on the subways. We’re working with Mayor Adams and the N.Y.P.D., who are responsible for policing the subways.

Under what conditions would you support a mask or vaccine mandate for schoolchildren?

Suozzi: I do not support any mandates for schoolchildren in the foreseeable future. The only circumstances I would consider would be if there was the emergence of a deadly new variant.

Williams: I think we have to continue to look at the numbers and have science guide us. We know we can’t just look at the Covid case numbers, but we have to look at the deaths and hospitalizations — all those numbers combined. We did wait as a state until it was too late before, and I think it cost people’s lives.

Hochul: We had a mandate in place. It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make early on. It’s my job to protect the schoolchildren and ensure we don’t close schools again.

Mask mandates? Only if we feel they will make a difference.

Do you support good cause eviction legislation that would cap rent increases and make it harder to evict tenants?

Suozzi: No, we already have the most protective tenant protections in America.

Williams: Good cause is actually the baseline of what we should be doing. Just to clarify, if you own and occupy a four-family home, this doesn’t impact you at all. If you’re not owner-occupied or you have more than a four-family, you can still evict people, you just have to give a reason: nonpayment of rent, violation of lease, destroying of property or if you simply need it for your own family. All this is about is to prevent the eviction crisis from getting worse and protecting people.

Hochul: No, I don’t support that. I’m very concerned about the small landlords. Many of them have not been paid rent in a very long time.

With the expiration of 421a, a longstanding tax break to promote the construction of affordable housing, what more should the state do to address the housing crisis here?

Suozzi: The most important thing the state must do is save NYCHA housing. Second, we must have a new 421a immediately that caps the rate of return for developers below 10 percent and requires that all tax-incentivized housing be done with union labor.

Williams: This is another place where there’s a key distinction between our campaign and the current administration, which wants to build and preserve 100,000 units in the next five years. We want to build and preserve one million units in the next 10 years. And no one pays 30 percent or more of their income in rent.

421a was abysmal. If we’re going to use taxpayer’s money, we need to actually use it for the type of housing that the public needs. Of course you need additional money and better management for NYCHA and public housing across the state.

Credit…Libby March for The New York Times

Hochul: We will be revisiting the version of 421a that I proposed, which will increase up to 30 percent how much of new builds would have to be affordable housing. Also, we needed to lower the income threshold so we could have more lower income people eligible for the benefit of living in these places.

In the meantime, we are starting a $25 billion affordable housing plan: 100,000 units, 10,000 supportive housing, as well as helping people cover their rent. We had over $1.6 billion out the door in rent relief to help people who are struggling and need rent just to get their head above water.

How would you make Albany more transparent?

Suozzi: I would reduce contribution limits for the governor’s office, from what is currently $67,000 per person to the same as the federal limits of $2,900. I would require that any expenditure over $10 million that is not included in the governor’s, the Senate’s or the Assembly’s budget must go through a public hearing to avoid another Buffalo Bills taxpayer giveaway.

The only real way to make government more accountable and less corrupt is to have more people involved in the political process and more competition in politics.

Williams: You have to elect someone who hasn’t come from how Albany operates. So you have just a totally different view. I’ve always said I think the budget is probably the most important thing that New Yorkers understand the least. I’d love to have a more open conversation while the budget negotiations are going.

Hochul: Already what we’ve done with the FOIL requests. Public records were being withheld. We’ve unleashed the pipe of information that should have been going out to the public from Day 1. I believe in releasing taxes. I believe in releasing schedules. I believe in telling people how decisions are made. Also, our economic development projects — there needs to be transparency in terms of a database where people can look up: Is the public investment getting the return on the dollar that was promised?

How will you stop New York from bleeding residents?

Suozzi: Reduce crime and cut taxes.

Williams: The No. 1 reason people are moving away is New York is no longer affordable. You literally have the highest rents in the entire nation. We must make New York State more affordable when it comes to rent, when it comes to how much people are paid. And you do want to make sure that people are safe and feel safe.

Hochul: I’m finding ways to cut the tax burden, such as expediting the middle-class tax cut and giving property tax relief to people. We need to let people know that this city is coming back, and it’s coming back very quickly. We know there is no city like New York, and people have kind of lost it during the pandemic, during the tough times and concern about public safety. It’s our job to turn that around. We’re also going to continue looking out for communities of color that have been bypassed when there’s been recoveries. It’s not a real successful comeback until I feel all the people have been represented and shared in that.

Would you accept the support of former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in this race?

Suozzi: Yes.

Williams: Andrew Cuomo would never support me.

Hochul: No. It’s time to look forward, not backward.

Are New York’s tax rates, among the highest in the nation, set at the right levels?

Suozzi: No. They are too high. I would cut income taxes by 10 percent.

Williams: There are working- and middle-class New Yorkers who’ve got too much of the burden of taxes. There are 120-some-odd billionaires who made $220 billion more during the pandemic; it’s their responsibility to do more. We have to have revenue raisers that can help ease the burden on working-class and middle-class New Yorkers.

Hochul: I think they’re high. We need to examine our tax structure. We made sure we capped the property tax at 2 percent. We’re focused on eliminating the reasons that people find it too expensive to be here. Many businesses can go anywhere they want in the nation, and it’s competitive.

Do you agree with Democrats who believe the Republican agenda is fueled by white supremacy?

Suozzi: I believe that the agenda of some Republicans is fueled by white supremacy.

Williams: Unfortunately, too much of the Republican Party is fueled by supremacy, and there’s just no way around it. I’m hoping that at some point the party that lost itself in a cult of personality will stop. But many of us have been saying for a while that this was the route that the party would take.

Hochul: That’s a broad statement, to say that the entire agenda is fueled by white supremacy. But I will tell you white supremacy has reared its ugly head in a lot of ways, and the Republicans acquiesced to the assault on our nation’s Capitol. Where are the Republicans in the talks about the slaughter of Black shoppers in Buffalo? So I would say they’re complicit in it, many are complicit.

Some Asian American voters in New York City have begun to vote more Republican. Why are Democrats losing those voters?

Suozzi: Because they’re failing to address their core concerns regarding crime and public safety, regarding taxes and affordability, and regarding the promotion of quality education for their children.

Williams: The Democratic Party has done a horrific job when it comes to discussing public safety. They just don’t know how to do it. So instead they go to Republican-light talking points. If the party would stop giving voters a boogeyman to vote against and give a vision to vote for, I think we would be much more successful.

Hochul: There’s fear because they’ve been targeted, especially after the pandemic. Donald Trump put a spotlight and blamed China, called it the China flu. They feel that Democrats need to do more to protect them against the street crimes and hate crimes.

What’s one issue on which you are closely aligned with Mayor Eric Adams and one issue you wish he would handle differently?

Suozzi: One hundred percent aligned on crime reduction and public safety. I wouldn’t have made some of the appointments he made.

Williams: I’ve known the mayor for a very long time, so there are more parts to how we address the gun violence that we agree on. There’s probably a difference when it comes to whether we should be doing hybrid working.

Hochul: We’re aligned in our common desire to make cities safer. One hundred percent. At a personal level, I know he’s a vegan, and I don’t mind a good hamburger once in a while.

Go-to bagel order?

Suozzi: I don’t know if I would get a salt bagel with tuna fish or a poppy-seed bagel with lox, onions, tomato and schmear.

Williams: A raisin bagel plus lox, cream cheese and capers.

Hochul: I have a sweet tooth. I’d say a cinnamon raisin bagel, cream cheese and some places they would put maple syrup cream cheese.

Best governor of New York in your lifetime?

Suozzi: Mario Cuomo. Loved him.

Williams: I’ve had issues with a lot of folks. But I’m hoping next year it will be Governor Williams.

Hochul: Mario Cuomo was a transformative governor.

The Republicans

Rob Astorino, 55, served as the Westchester County executive from 2010 to 2017 and was the 2014 Republican nominee for governor.

Andrew Giuliani, 36, is the son of the former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and worked in the White House for President Donald J. Trump.

Harry Wilson, 50, is a corporate turnaround specialist who served in the Obama administration and was the 2010 Republican candidate for state comptroller.

Lee Zeldin, 42, is an Army veteran who has represented Suffolk County in the State Senate and in Congress since 2011. He has the formal backing of New York’s Republican and Conservative Parties.

What will you do to speed the transition away from fossil fuels and guarantee New York a clean, renewable energy future?

Zeldin: New Yorkers want access to clean air and clean water regardless of what party they are. There, unfortunately, has been a push inside the Legislature to set dates to hit particular targets without a plan on how to hit that target. I have a concern about the lack of supply that currently is being tapped into, as well as the rising energy costs.

They’re looking to pass a bill that would ban all gas hookups on new construction statewide. I oppose that. I believe that we need to start safely extracting our natural resources from the Marcellus and Utica Shales. Especially the Southern Tier. It would create jobs and generate revenue and revitalize communities, and I believe that we can enact the greatest tax cut in the history of the state.

Astorino: My approach is an all-of-the-above approach to energy. I agree with renewables, but I also think we can safely extract natural gas because we need it and potentially even site new nuclear power plants.

Credit…Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Wilson: I believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy and a focus on a smart and efficient transition to lower carbon emissions. What that means in practice is scrapping New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and investing more broadly in nuclear, natural gas and renewables.

Giuliani: New Yorkers’ immediate need is affordable energy sources, which is why I support fracking. The Marcellus Shale covers the entire Southern Tier of New York, and it covers two-thirds of the landmass in the state of New York.

As governor, how would you address elevated crime in New York’s cities?

Zeldin: We should repeal cashless bail. Judges should have the discretion to weigh dangerousness and flight risk and past criminal record and the seriousness of the offense on far more offenses. I believe that we should repeal the Less Is More Act. Thousands of people have been released early who should be behind bars.

We should be doing more to support law enforcement, passing a law enforcement bill of rights. I oppose all efforts to defund, dismantle, abolish law enforcement.

Astorino: Repeal no-cash bail. Use tools for law enforcement that actually work, like stop, question and frisk. And fire Alvin Bragg and any prosecutor who chooses to not enforce the laws.

Wilson: Our Making New York Safe crime plan addresses four primary changes in policy. First, we would repeal bail reform. Second, we would support our great men and women in law enforcement with increased financial support. Third, we would fire rogue district attorneys who refuse to enforce the law. And fourth, we have a long series of additional reforms that we believe get to the root causes of the current spike in crime.

Giuliani: Bad policies like bail reform and defunding the police are making it impossible for the men and women in blue to protect and serve New Yorkers. Allowing criminals to get out of jail within hours of committing a crime is setting us up for one avoidable tragedy after another. I will reverse those policies and use my power to fire any activist prosecutor who is beholden to criminals rather than law-abiding citizens.

How would you revive New York’s subway system?

Zeldin: The security concerns are the biggest factor I’m hearing. The more people who feel safe and choose to ride it, that helps to stabilize the finances of public transit.

Astorino: We need to make sure that subways are safe so people actually want to use them. And we need a complete forensic audit of the M.T.A. to know how the dollars are being spent or wasted before we start throwing more money at that.

Wilson: We need a long-term turnaround plan for the M.T.A., rather than the short-term band-aid approach that’s been in place for the last several years. One, we have to improve public safety in the M.T.A. so that people feel safe using it. Second, we need a long-term capital plan that can really create a world-class infrastructure that is today driven by excessive costs, operations and maintenance capital expense.

Giuliani: People are avoiding the subway because it’s no longer safe. Fortunately, in New York the governor has more board seats on the M.T.A. than the mayor. I would use that power to increase the transit police presence around the subway so that riders won’t feel like they’re endangering their lives using mass transit. That needs to happen before we re-evaluate the M.T.A. budget.

Credit…Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Under what conditions would you support a mask or vaccine mandate for schoolchildren?

Zeldin: I don’t support a mask or vaccine mandate for schoolchildren.

Astorino: No vaccine mandate for kids who attend school and no mask mandates either.

Wilson: I don’t support mask or vaccine mandates for school-age children.

Giuliani: I am opposed to mask and vaccine mandates, especially for children.

Do you support good cause eviction legislation that would cap rent increases and make it harder to evict tenants?

Zeldin: I do not. I believe that it’s the one-size-fits-all approach. Policies are enacted in Albany as if everybody owns 10,000 units, and it’s causing tremendous pain for New Yorkers, who are trying to achieve the American dream.

Astorino: No. We need to go back to if you’re into contract and property law and bankruptcy court, we cannot have a cancel rent culture. I would look to rent decontrol, a more market based approach, at the same time building more affordable housing like I did the Westchester.

Wilson: Generally speaking, I think the landlord’s have been suffering because of the policy constraints and have not been able to invest in their physical facilities. We need to return to a more market-based environment around housing and eviction policy.

Giuliani: Overregulation is crippling small businesses, including landlords, who are already at a disadvantage when it comes to evicting tenants who stop paying rent.

With the expiration of 421a, a longstanding tax break to promote the construction of affordable housing, what more should the state do to address the housing crisis here?

Zeldin: I don’t believe that 421a should have expired, and I support for 420a continuing.

Astorino: I think 421a or something similar needs to be re-enacted.

Wilson: I do think just given how far we are from affordable in New York City, there is a need for some level of subsidization to create the opportunity for more housing, but we need a much broader solution. We have to expand supply. To do that, you have to attack each of the underlying constraints, which range from zoning to time delays and approvals to construction costs to union contracts to create a lower cost approach.

Giuliani: Kathy Hochul didn’t have the support in the Legislature to extend 421a, but New York voters are in the process of re-evaluating whether being overtaxed, overregulated and underprotected is right for the Empire State.

How would you make Albany more transparent?

Zeldin: The three-persons-in-a-room approach needs to end. That’s no way to run this government. You need more rank-and-file state legislators to be involved in the budget process and the crafting of legislation.

I support term limits in government. I believe that all of our statewide elected officials should be termed out at two terms of four years each. I would add press conferences. When you’re at the 11th hour of crafting a budget and there’s so many questions that the media has, the public has, that the Legislature has, as you’re agreeing to certain aspects of the budget, don’t keep it a secret.

Astorino: In Westchester, everything was posted online: meeting agendas, livestreaming. The governor needs to be more interactive with the public, which I would do through town hall meetings around the state.

Wilson: Within our policy plan, we have two broad buckets. The first is “how do we improve the quality of people in public life?” and the second is “how do we create accountability for those people?” On the first, we wanted to expand access to elections both for candidates and parties. We want to eliminate the LLC loophole and have penalties for it. We want to pass term limits: eight years for statewide elected officials and 12 years for legislative leaders. We want to have open primaries and expand the pool of voters who can participate, and we want to drive election integrity to make sure that there are properly monitored elections.

On the second piece of improving accountability, I support initiative, referendum and recall provisions. We need a public ethics watchdog to replace both JCOPE and Governor Hochul’s new entity.

Credit…Pool photo by Brittainy Newman

Giuliani: Corruption and transparency don’t mix. I will drain the Albany swamp.

How will you stop New York from bleeding residents?

Zeldin: We have to reverse the attacks on wallets, safety, freedom and quality of education.

Astorino: Get crime under control, reduce regulations and foster an environment where businesses thrive, and reduce taxes dramatically.

Wilson: The underlying problems to me are crime, taxes and the cost of living.

Giuliani: No one wants to live where they feel unsafe. Cutting taxes and regulations as well as unconstitutional mandates will also make it more attractive to live here. And if you want families to stay, it’s imperative to increase the cap on charter schools and offer school vouchers. We also need to get back to educating our children instead of indoctrinating them with both age-inappropriate and divisive content.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, would you support adding new limits to abortion access in New York? Or would you enforce laws protecting abortion currently on the books?

Zeldin: New York has already codified far more than what Roe provided, so the law in New York State is exactly the same the day after the Supreme Court decision gets released. I opposed the legislation that was passed into law that codified late-term, partial-birth abortion and nondoctors’ performing abortion. We should have parental consent and informed consent, and we should also be doing more to promote adoption.

Astorino: I am pro-life. Nobody’s ever going to think otherwise. But I understand in New York, it’s very unlikely that abortion will ever be banned. That does not mean we can’t have some reasonable restrictions. Things like banning third-trimester partial-birth abortion, except to save the life of the woman, is reasonable. Encourage adoption, and get back to what Bill Clinton said: Safe, legal and rare.

Wilson: I’m pro-choice. I’ve said I will not make any changes to the abortion laws in the state.

Giuliani: I am pro-life. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, I would support ending late-term abortions.

Do you support gun control measures, like New York’s decision to raise the minimum age to 21 for the purchase of an AR-15-style weapon, a federal assault weapons ban or a federal red flag law?

Zeldin: I don’t support raising the age. I signed up for the military when I was 18. I don’t support a federal assault weapons ban. Red flag laws are something that has to be heard with the leadership of individual states. I disagree with New York’s law because it allows firearms to be taken away without notifying that firearm owner that there’s a hearing.

Credit…Richard Beaven for The New York Times

Astorino: Raising the age to 21 was found unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, and it’ll likely be the same here. I believe in red flag laws so long as there is due process. I’d also like to add mental health records to the background check. But I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

Wilson: I’ve been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment my whole life. I grew up in a rural town, where I started shooting when I was 8. The problem is not law-abiding citizens. The problem is three groups of people: criminals, the mentally ill with violent tendencies, and purveyors of hate, who should not have access to weapons. So that’s where we need to focus our attention, not on curtailing the rights of law-abiding citizens.

We have a red flag law and background checks that I do support and are not working because they haven’t been properly administered.

Giuliani: I support the Second Amendment. Restricting an American’s right to bear arms is unconstitutional.

Democrats have charged that your party’s agenda is fueled by white supremacy. Do you agree?

Zeldin: Absolutely not.

Astorino: Radical progressives in the Democratic Party are tearing apart the economy, our individual rights and are using racism as a boogeyman. I detest when they say Republicans are white supremacists.

Wilson: No.

Giuliani: The notion that Republicans condone of white supremacy is a rumor perpetrated by some members of the Democratic Party and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media. That this is even a question says more about The New York Times than it does about any Republican I know.

Who did you vote for in the 2020 election?

Zeldin: Donald Trump.

Astorino: Donald Trump.

Wilson: I wrote in a conservative Republican, Nikki Haley.

Giuliani: Donald J. Trump

Do you believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election fairly and is the legitimate president of the United States?

Zeldin: He did win. I have long expressed my concern that there were nonstate legislative actors in certain states that were changing the ways the election was being administered without getting approval from the state legislature against the plain text of the U.S. Constitution. I have never at any point ever made a statement calling him or the election illegitimate.

Astorino: I believe that there were issues with the election with regard to the rules being changed in the middle of the game, and the heavy hand of social media having an undue influence. But I do believe Joe Biden won the presidency, but now we’re paying the price for it.

Wilson: Yes.

Giuliani: I certainly have questions about the security of the election.

Would you accept the endorsement of — or campaign with — Donald Trump?

Zeldin: Yes.

Astorino: If he wants to, but you know, I’m focused on issues like crime in our cities and the economy and education, which is failing in New York. Those are the things that people were talking about, like inflation. I’d definitely accept the endorsement.

Wilson: I’m not seeking an endorsement. I’m not playing the politician game and seeking endorsements like some of my rivals.

Giuliani: I have campaigned for President Trump and would campaign with him. I’m proud to have worked in the Trump administration.

Where does “upstate New York” begin?

Zeldin: It seems like in a state of 19 million or so people that there seems to be about that 20 million different answers.

Astorino: If you ask people from Long Island and New York City, they say it begins in Westchester, which is totally wrong. I would say it begins in the northern part of the Hudson Valley after basically the M.T.A. line.

Wilson: I don’t like to divide the state. I actually think about a regional approach to the state. Western New York is very different from the Capital District, where I grew up.

Giuliani: A lot of people say it begins where Metro-North ends, but I would say if one identifies as an upstater, then go with it.

Go-to bagel order?

Zeldin: When I was a kid, I used to always get an egg bagel and cream cheese, and I still find myself sticking with the basics.

Astorino: I love bagels with strawberry cream cheese.

Wilson: Sesame with cream cheese. Some people like butter, but I never understood that.

Giuliani: We all know that real New York bagels don’t need to be toasted. Other than that, I’m not picky.

Who was the best governor of New York in your lifetime?

Zeldin: Hands down it would be Governor Pataki.

Astorino: It would have to be Pataki because he’s basically been the only Republican in my life. And I like him a lot personally.

Wilson: Pataki.

Giuliani: George Pataki.

Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.

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