GOP NY Guv Nominee Zeldin Attacked On Stage While Campaigning

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) attends a press conference on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), New York’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, was attacked by a man who allegedly tried to stab the candidate as he was holding a campaign event on Thursday.

Local news outlet WHEC’s video of the incident shows that Zeldin was giving a stump speech in Perinton, New York when a man who seemed to be holding some sort of sharp object walked up to the candidate on the stage, grabbed his right arm and tried to yank him off the stage, all while reportedly saying “You’re done. You’re done. You’re done.”

Several Zeldin campaign staffers and members of the crowd were able to restrain the man and used zip ties to keep him detained until the police arrived, WHEC reported.

There were no injuries, according to Zeldin’s campaign and law enforcement.

After the attacker was taken into custody, the Monroe County sheriff’s office publicly identified him as 43-year-old David G. Jakubonis of Fairport, New York.

According to the sheriff’s office, Jakubonis allegedly held an unspecified “weapon” in his hand and “swung it towards” Zeldin’s neck upon climbing onto the stage.

Jakubonis has been charged with second degree attempted assault and was released on his own recognizance, the sheriff’s office said.

The motive for the attack is unknown at the moment.

Zeldin issued a statement after the incident confirming that he and his running mate, Alison Esposito, were unharmed, and said the assault was an attempted stabbing.

“Thank you to everyone who reached out following tonight’s attack in Fairport,” the GOP candidate said. “Someone tried to stab me on stage during this evening’s rally, but fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him.”

Zeldin also said he was “grateful for the attendees who stepped up quickly to assist and the law enforcement officers who quickly responded.”

Incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) denounced the attack.

“Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody. I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York,” she tweeted.

The attack against Zeldin unfolded against the backdrop of growing threats against lawmakers.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: