Gov. Kathy Hochul clinched an easy victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is poised for a full term in November after taking office last year when a sexual harassment scandal forced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fall out of favor .
Hochul — New York’s first female governor — had a 65% to 22% lead over the city’s public attorney Jumaane Williams, and outgoing U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island) was 13% behind both, with 18% of the districts reported when the Associated Press called the race.
Hochul, 63, consistently topped pre-election polls, topping Suozzi by a staggering 36 percentage points in the most recent polls.
The polls prompted Democratic adviser Evan Stavisky to predict to The Post earlier this month that “it would take a real miracle, not Hail Marys, for the governor to lose this primary.”
But the Ox native was only considered an attacker after Cuomo decided to stay on the sidelines, with a March poll showing he was just 8 percentage points behind Hochul, a hypothetical main draw.
Hochul also faced a brief challenge from Attorney General Letitia James, who was considered a likely Cuomo opponent before his resignation, accusing her of molesting him with an investigation that found he molested 11 women, including nine current or former government employees.
But James — who also published a blockbuster report on Cuomo’s undercounting of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 — gave up her short-lived run for governor in December and decided to seek re-election instead.
The move came after she failed to meet the $5 million fundraising goal set by Democratic leaders in Brooklyn, her political base, sources told the Post.
Hochul’s confidence that she had the primary in the bag apparently prompted her to skip the first of three scheduled debates with her Democratic rivals, claiming she must instead focus on the scheduled last day of the legislative session.
The move resulted in Suozzi and Williams tapping her on issues such as crime, gun control, and mayoral control of New York schools.
In the second debate, Hochul’s rivals fired on Hochul’s plan to use $850 million in taxpayer dollars to help build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills while her husband serves as general counsel for the company building the operates concession stands, restaurants, and retail stores.
The final duel involved a clash between Hochul and Suozzi over their appointment of former Lt. gov. Brian Benjamin, who resigned after being indicted on federal corruption charges, which included an alleged plan to swap a federal grant for campaign funds.
But none of the trades included the kind of knockout punch Hochul’s rivals needed to move the needle in public opinion polls, which also showed she would likely win every GOP challenger in November.
In the deep blue Empire State, which has not had a GOP governor since George Pataki left in 2006, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/28/kathy-hochul-wins-democratic-primary-for-governor/ Kathy Hochul wins the Democratic primary for governor