NY Times says Gov. Cuomo's running mate is too unpredictable, declines endorsement

Chuck Hagel/via Flickr
August 29, 2014

A recent endorsement, along with a non-endorsement, from the New York Times has caused a stir in Albany political circles.

On the one hand, the paper’s editorial board declined to make an endorsement in the Democratic primary of the governor’s race. They cited challenger Zephyr Teachout’s lack of political experience and Governor Cuomo’s failure to fully deliver on a promised corruption crackdown.

And surprisingly, in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, they endorsed Teachout’s running mate, Timothy Wu, over Cuomo’s, Kathy Hochul. The reasoning: Hochul’s conservative positions when she was a congresswoman from Buffalo were often at odds with the Democratic party and Governor Cuomo. Hochul shot back at the Times during an appearance on The Capitol Pressroom.

The Times called Hochul’s record on health care reform, gun control, and environmental regulation deeply troubling. The lieutenant governor is the first in line to take over if something happens to the governor. The Times says it is hard to know what she would do if she became governor.

During her 2012 campaign for Congress, Hochul was endorsed by the NRA. That’s at odds with her running mate, Governor Cuomo, who passed a strict new gun control known as the SAFE Act early in his term.

Hochul says her opposition to gun control measures in Congress reflected the region she represented.

“Maybe this is a little hard to believe downstate that Republicans had pistol permits, Democrats did and members of the Working Families Party because it’s a cultural phenomenon up here. When I was county clerk, the last week before Thanksgiving, the place was empty because everyone took off on vacation to go deer hunting.”

Hochul says she supports the SAFE Act because its main goal is to get illegal guns off the streets and won’t affect hunters in Western New York.

“Living in a rural area upstate is very different from living in Harlem and you’ve got to understand where each side is coming from.”

The Times also pointed to Hochul’s opposition to an Eliot Spitzer-era proposal to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Hochul defends that position by saying it was based on Buffalo’s proximity to the border.

“And I happen to know personally that Hezbollah and other cells are in Toronto who could very easily come across the border, walk into a DMV and I’d be required to give them what is a government-sanctioned form of identification that lets them get on planes.”

Hochul says she supports the DREAM Act, which would offer tuition aid to children brought to the US illegally. She says each municipality should decide whether to issue a locally recognized ID.