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Hochul's campaign schedule intensifies as Election Day draws near

Governor Kathy Hochul held several “get out the vote” rallies around the state Wednesday, including one in Albany with the head of the state’s largest labor organization.

Hochul shared the stage with the state’s AFL-CIO president, Mario Cilento, who said Hochul has been a friend to organized labor.

“Kathy Hochul has delivered time and time again, in a very short period of time,” Cilento said.

Labor unions are important assets in an election campaign and provide volunteers to call prospective voters and make sure that they get to the polls.

Hochul, in her speech, emphasized her labor roots, saying her immigrant grandparents came to western New York to find jobs in the steel industry. Her father also held his first job at a steel plant.

“That’s what’s in my veins,” Hochul said. “That’s why, with that steel running through this body, I can handle the rough and tumble of New York politics any day. I say, ‘Bring it on!’”

Hochul, without naming him, took a shot at her Republican opponent, Congressman Lee Zeldin, who’s been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

“MAGA Trump Republicans will never get a stronghold in a state like New York,” Hochul said. “Never!”

Hochul, who is seeking a full term in office, also held rallies Wednesday in Westchester County and Binghamton. On Thursday, she is scheduled to be at Barnard College in New York City with former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris. Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign with Hochul over the weekend.

Zeldin has also been holding numerous rallies and has drawn the governors of Florida and Virginia to his events. He’s been encouraged by polls showing the race tightening.

Zeldin, who has run on an anti-crime platform, spoke in Manhattan on Wednesday, where he predicted that he will do better than expected in New York City.

“I think that there are Democrats who are shocked to see the massive enthusiasm gap,” Zeldin said. “I think that there are Democrats that are shocked to see just how often I am there in their districts. When there hasn't been a Republican showing up, it feels like, ever.”

Hochul says she’s not worried about turning out her supporters in a race that is now closer than many expected.

The governor, a Buffalo Bills fan, likened the next few days to that of a high-stakes sporting contest.

“It’s the Super Bowl. We’re in the fourth quarter, I see the end zone in sight, and we’re just about there,” Hochul said. “I feel very positive about our chances.”

But Hochul says she always runs with the mindset of an underdog.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.