NEW YORK (PIX11) — The General Election matchup in the race for governor of New York is set. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin are the nominees — and sparks are already flying.

“We will not let not let right-wing extremists send us back decades,” Hochul declared on Election Night.

Shortly after Zeldin’s first words to his supporters were “Are we ready to fire Kathy Hochul?”

The morning after his primary victory, PIX11 News caught up with Zeldin via Zoom. He said he has already laid the groundwork to rally every GOP voter and every independent to win in the deeply Democratic state.

“The issues that matter to Republicans are issues that matter to New Yorkers of all stripes, like crime and public safety and the economy” said Zeldin, citing examples of meeting many times with communities of color in New York City.

Zeldin’s pitch is clear: crime and the cost of living are both too high — and Hochul has not done enough since taking over from the scandalized former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“She wants to talk about anything other than growing New York’s economy and cutting taxes and reversing the state’s ban on the safe extraction of natural gas,” Zeldin said.

While meeting with an interstate gun taskforce Wednesday, Hochul said it’s her job “to help people get through these challenging times,” a response to the very criticism Zeldin has raised.

“I’ve got a very busy job protecting people,” Hochul added.

She previewed a package of gun safety laws designed to respond to the Supreme Court weakening New York’s restrictive concealed carry laws.

“That’s what we’re focused on now,” Hochul said, “but also making sure we’re helping people with the high cost of living.”

The governor made clear last night she will paint Zeldin as an extremist. The four-term Congressman has been a loyal Donald Trump supporter and voted not to certify the results of the 2020 election even after the insurrection.

Zeldin also opposes abortion.

“This is my 13th election and I’ve never seen the anxiety of people [like this],” Hochul said. “People coming up to me at subway stops … so fearful their rights will continue to be stripped away.”

Zeldin told PIX11 News that New Yorkers should not expect New York state abortion rights to drastically change if he is elected due to New York’s constitutional protections. However, he would seek common ground on concerns he has about later-term abortions and non-doctors performing the procedure.

On the issue of former President Trump, Zeldin expects him to speak out in this race. He said he does not find the Jan. 6 hearing credible.

“As I travel around many parts of upstate, many people who took down their Trump 2020 flags put up Trump 2024 flags,” Zeldin said. “With that being said, Kathy Hochul needs to focus on the issues that matter more to New Yorkers.”

On the Lt. Governor side of things, Hochul’s decisive victory also carried her choice: Antonio Delgado. Republicans nominated Alison Esposito without a vote. The retired deputy inspector for the NYPD was picked by Zeldin and not contested.