Hochul Locks Up Key Support as Letitia James Begins Statewide Tour

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The president of the York State Democratic Party backed Gov. Kathy Hochul, saying a multi-candidate could damage the party in 2022.

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The chairman of the York State Democratic Party on Monday backed Gov. Kathy Hochul in next year’s primary race, arguing that a fierce multi-candidate could be detrimental to the party – even if several potential contenders gravitate towards their runs. Take serious steps quickly. My.

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Party president Jay Jacobs said the support was his own, and not that of the state party. But her announcement was seen as an early effort in support of Ms. Hochul, who took over as governor after resigning in disgrace to Andrew M. Cuomo.

But Mr. Jacobs’ attempt to bring the entire party together is already facing resistance – and he acknowledged as much as he pointed to the increased activity surrounding the race.

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Mr Jacobs told a news conference on Long: “From the beginning, I have been urging those who have been waiting for governor to put their powder in the race and allow Governor Hochul to work and make their mark. Give.” island. “Unfortunately, over the past few days, it seems that many candidates are becoming more concerned.”

Indeed, last week Jumane D. Williams, a York City public advocate, launched an investigative committee; The state attorney general, Letitia James, indicated that she was about to make the final decision on whether to run; And other Democrats, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Long Island’s U.S. Representative Thomas Suozzi and Suffolk County Executive, Steven Belone, are also believed to be interested.

“A party that has been torn apart by multiple candidates in multiple primaries for multiple positions will drain precious resources, divide us and leave us vulnerable,” Mr. Jacobs said. “We have a governor who is proving that she can do the job and do it with distinction. We have a governor who we know can win against any Republican candidate she’s voted against.” was kept. “

The endorsement of Mr. Jacobs, who is also chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, and another endorsement from Rich Schaefer, the head of the Suffolk County Democrats on Monday, underscore Ms. Hochul’s potential strength on vote-rich Long Island. Next year’s Democratic primary.

Yet when Mr. Jacobs spoke, perhaps Ms. Hochul’s most powerful opponent was about 25 miles away, appearing on a stage that could, if not stylistically, be mistaken for a campaign tableau.

Ms James was in the South Bronx on Monday morning, beginning a statewide tour in which “she will begin the first deliveries of up to $1.5 billion to tackle the opioid epidemic,” her office said, tapping into negotiated settlements. . The tour is run through his government team, and the event was often quiet as speakers shared painful stories of how the opioid crisis has ravaged neighborhoods across the city.

“We’re not talking about politics, we’re talking about life today,” she warned a reporter who asked about her support for Mr. Jacobs.

Still, the visit comes as Ms. James and her aides make it clear that she is weighing in on a race for governor – and hence the event, which portrayed Ms. James’s relationships in various communities around New York City. did, took on a new layer of significance. .

He was accompanied by members of the city council, members of the assembly and state senators and representatives Adriano Espaillat and Jamal Bowman.

“With an incident like this, she is an effective AG, seizing all those dollars to help our communities,” Espalett said in a brief interview after the incident. “That means she will probably be an effective governor.”

“We will take a look at all the candidates,” he said. “I think she would make a great candidate, but it’s her choice.”

Questions about whether Ms James would run and what the rest of the field would look like prevented some county chairs from advertising with Mr Jacobs, although he suggested he expected others to signal his support in the coming days. Will give

“Kathy Hochul is doing a great job as governor and I hope she succeeds, but I think things need to play out a bit more,” said Westchester County Democratic Committee Chair Susan Berger. “The Attorney General, who has also been a great elected official, needs an opportunity and space to make the best decisions for himself and the state as well.”

Other Democrats were openly criticizing Mr. Jacobs’ move to interfere in the primary, especially at a relatively early juncture in the race – although there are some other recent points of comparison. Mr Cuomo had been in office for a decade, and before that, party officials called Gov. David A. Patterson asked disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer not to seek a full term after taking office.

Mr Williams said in a statement that Mr Jacobs’ role, “and the role of the highest-ranking Democratic officials in our state, should be to uplift Democratic candidates, Democratic voters and democratic values.”

Mr Williams also noted Mr Jacobs’ longstanding alliance with Mr Cuomo, who on Monday issued another statement in an independent investigation into his conduct issued by Mrs James’ office. The ex-governor lamented that “it’s not the best New York for him.” There has been much speculation about whether Mr Cuomo – whose resignation speech has doubled as a defense of his legacy – will try to smuggle real money into the race.

Mr Jacobs said he had given a heads-up on supporting, among others, Mr Cuomo, a comment that garnered some attention on Monday.

“I’m not involved in that, I’m not really,” Ms Hochul said when asked about Mr Jacobs’ decision to include Mr Cuomo. “I’m proud to have the support of Jay Jacobs, Rich Schaefer, and anyone else who wants to line up behind me, but they know it’s not my attention.”

And asked about Mr Cuomo’s message, he replied, “I’m actually too busy governing New York to worry about emails written by people.”

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