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Hochul says she will run for governor in 2022

Kathy Hochul, wearing blue, stands at a podium with the sign #BackToWorkNY
Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of the Governor

New York has its first Democratic candidate for governor next year, and she already has a leg up: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, soon to be acting governor after Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned this week, said Thursday that she plans to seek a full term in next year’s election.

When asked on NBC’s TODAY show if she expected to throw her hat in for next year’s election for governor, Hochul said she would, and would be the most prepared candidate in the field.

“Yes, I will. I fully expect to be prepared for this. I’ve led a life working in every level of government, from Congress to local government. I’m the most prepared,” Hochul said.

“I’m going to ask voters at some point for their faith in me. Right now, I need their faith, their prayers, their support to make sure we get this right. IAnd I’m confident they’ll see that I fight like hell every single day.”

It’s only been two days since Cuomo announced his resignation, but there had already been speculation over whether Hochul would seek the state’s highest office next year.

Hochul’s confirmation of her intention to run could set up a crowded field of Democrats who intend to challenge her in a primary. A handful of Democrats are rumored to also have an eye on the governorship.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose report on sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week forced his resignation Tuesday, is rumored to be interested in the job, but hasn’t publicly signaled that she intends to run.

This year alone, James has done a lot that could open a path for her campaign, if she chooses to run.

She’s busted up major crime rings in a handful of cities at a time when public safety is a top issue for New Yorkers, led multi-billion settlements against top opioid companies for their part in fueling the state’s overdose epidemic, and more.

But it’s also possible that James will support Hochul in her run. The two have been publicly aligned in the past.

Other names floated in Democratic circles include Rep. Tom Suozzi, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Some of those candidates have been opponents of Cuomo at times, so it’s also possible that they’ll drop their consideration with him out of office, but that’s something we won’t know until the race for governor begins to pick up in the next few months.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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