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New York's Top Democrat Endorses Hochul For Governor

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) - The leader of the state’s Democratic Party is personally endorsing Governor Kathy Hochul for election in the June 2022 Democratic Primary and the general election, next November. And he’s asking other potential candidates who have expressed in interest in challenging Hochul to hold off for now, saying multiple candidates competing in a primary could be chaotic and harmful to the party’s chance of winning next November.

Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs says his endorsement of Hochul, who took office August 24 after former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in a sexual harassment scandal, is a personal one. He says it does not reflect the will of the county chairs or the Democratic State Committee. But he says Hochul has already shown that she’s capable, and he believes she can best win next November against a republican candidate, as well as help down ballot democrats get elected.

We have a governor who has proven she can do the job and do it with distinction,” said Jacobs. “We have a governor, who by any measure has earned our support.”

Jacobs asked other potential candidates to “hold their powder” for now, and give Hochul a chance. And he says  a party “torn apart by multiple candidates” will “exhaust precious resources” and divide democrats.

“Ambition is  necessary trait in our business, ” Jacobs said. “But no one should supplant the unity of our party with their own ambition.”

Attorney General Tish James New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio are all considered to be potential candidates. Williams has announced an exploratory committee, and James is embarking on a statewide tour to promote settlements with opioid manufacturers.

Jacob says he considers AG James a “friend”, and credited her for work going after alleged corruption on companies run by former President Donald Trump, and for her reports that uncovered a potential cover up of nursing home deaths by the Cuomo administration as well as the AG’s report that found the former Governor sexually harassed 11 women.

“I respect her tremendously ,” Jacobs said. “I think she’s got to use her own judgment and see if this is right for her.”

Jacobs announcement can also be read as a warning to former Governor Cuomo. Cuomo issued a letter to supporters Monday morning, saying the scandal that led to him leaving his job was “an obvious effort by some to use Albany politics to do what the people of the state would not allow them to do at the ballot box” and remove him from office.

He also called the report by AG James he “weaponization of harassment claims” that he says contributes to New Yorkers’ distrust and cynicism.

Jacobs was chosen by Cuomo for the job of party chair, but he ultimately joined the other Democratic Party leaders in calling for Cuomo’s exit. And he commented on the former governor’s criticism  of the current state of New York politics.

“It’s a less than friendly statement,” he said.

He says Cuomo was among those he made a “courtesy call” to early Monday, before his announcement, but he says the former governor did not share with him any future political intentions.