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Republicans out in full force to support gubernatorial candidate

Photo by Dennis Phillips Right, State Sen. Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, talks to Michael Henry, Republican candidate for state attorney general, Thursday during the Chautauqua County Republican Dinner. The featured guest speaker was U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, who is running for governor in 2022.

CELORON – Brian Abram, Republican election commissioner for more than 13 years and a county legislator before that, was surprised at the turnout when more than 150 of his party colleagues attended the Chautauqua County Republican Dinner to hear gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, speak.

“I don’t remember having an event this large before,” he said.

Brent Sheldon, Jamestown Republic Committee chairman, agreed with Abram about the large crowd showing up Thursday for the dinner at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

“It’s a big night for Republicans in Chautauqua County,” he said.

Prior to Zeldin speaking to the full ball room at the lakeside hotel, he spoke to The Post-Journal over the phone about his gubernatorial run. He said many individuals and businesses are at a breaking point because of how the state has been run by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will be seeking his fourth-term as governor in 2022. He added that the “pendulum” needs to swing to the Republican Party to curtail the rising cost of living and eroding public safety.

“Our state is at a breaking point, right now,” he said.

Zeldin represents the 1st Congressional District and has been a U.S. representative since 2015. He serves on both the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees. He added that by serving on these two committees, he is well-informed on the concerns facing most people.

“I’ve been intimately involved in the issues important to New Yorkers,” he said.

A 19-year member of the military, Zeldin, a Lt. Col. in the Army Reserves, said he stays grounded because of his family, his military service and because of his constituents. He has won seven consecutive elections, going back to defeating a Democratic incumbent in the state Senate before defeating another incumbent Democrat to win the House seat.

Also at the dinner was Michael Henry, who is running for state attorney general. Henry said he was visiting Chautauqua County for the first time and said it’s very beautiful.

“It’s nice here. I like the atmosphere,” Henry said about being able to see boaters and people fishing from the lakeside hotel in Celoron.

Henry, who is running for political office for the first time, said he is a private practice attorney in Manhattan, who performs a lot of asylum work for immigrants. He is running for attorney general because the office has been too “weaponized” by past attorney generals, who have used the position for higher political aspirations.

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