US congressman attacked during New York state stump speech

Congressman Lee Zeldin speaks during his election night party at the Coral House on June 28 in Baldwin, New York. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A man climbed on stage and attempted to stab Congressman Lee Zeldin on Thursday (July 21) as he delivered a stump speech in his run for New York governor, his campaign said, but the candidate was unharmed.

Video footage posted on social media by witnesses showed an unidentified man wearing a black baseball cap quickly approach Mr Zeldin from the side of the stage at a rally in upstate New York holding a pointed weapon or implement of some kind.

The man, who can be heard to tell Mr Zeldin "you're done" repeatedly as he extends his arm toward the Republican candidate's face or neck.

Mr Zeldin pushed him away before both men tumbled to the ground as several others tried to subdue the suspect.

A spokeswoman for Mr Zeldin's campaign, Ms Katie Vincentz, said on Twitter that the suspect had attempted to stab the congressman.

Ms Vincentz said Mr Zeldin and members of his team were unharmed.

"Zeldin grabbed attacker's wrist to stop him until others assisted in taking the attacker to the ground. Law enforcement took the man into custody," Ms Vincentz said.

She said Mr Zeldin finished his speech following the incident and thanked law enforcement officers who responded to the attack.

Local police could not immediately be reached for comment on the incident.

"Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody," incumbent New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat and Mr Zeldin's opponent in the race, said on Twitter.

"I condemn this violent behaviour in the strongest terms possible - it has no place in New York," Ms Hochul said.

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