Although Kathy Hochul, New York Governor, is expected to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary easily in the state, her path to victory will be more challenging in November.
As we head into the midterm election, there is a growing national resistance to Democrats in elected office. Gun crime is rising, and inflation is at an all-time high. New York is a reliably blue state. A Republican hasn’t won a statewide election in 20 years. Hochul, however, is saving her campaign funds to go for a general election. However, polling indicates Hochul is not a strong candidate.
According to limited polling, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin from Long Island is leading among Hochul’s Republican rivals. A June 16 Siena survey showed that 46% of New Yorkers polled preferred Hochul to their elected representatives, and 44% preferred someone else. However, the poll did not ask voters about head-to-head elections.
Other Republican candidates include Rob Astorino (ex-Westchester County Executive), Harry Wilson (businessman), and Andrew Giuliani (son of Rudy Giuliani, a former Trump administration adviser).
Christina Greer, associate professor in political science at Fordham University, said that “nothing is impossible.” However, she cited the possibility of voter indifference and low turnout.
Since George Pataki’s third term in 2002, competitive Republican challenges to incumbent Democratic governors have been rare in New York. However, Hochul’s potential Republican general-election challengers to Hochul are starker than ever, especially after Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.
Greer stated that most of her opponents do not believe the 2020 election is legitimate. “We have two extremes of ideological spectrum on our ballot.”
Hochul made a campaign stop in New York City on Monday. She said it might seem like Hochul is saving her firepower to win the November election rather than the primary because she has been “busy managing.” However, Hochul also stated that the Supreme Court’s decision regarding abortion raised the stakes for the election.
She said, “I’m not the one who can stop us from chaos if a Republican ever seats in the statehouse in the governor’s chair,” while her supporters distributed flyers to Harlem voters. She stated that her Republican rivals were “dead set” on standing with the Supreme Court and that voters “need know that electing a Democrat who is certain to win in Nov is crucial.”
Zeldin, the GOP front-runner, rebuts Hochul’s claims and suggests that the math may favor Republicans this year.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Zeldin stated that when people look at New York’s electorate, they often focus on how many Democrats there are. However, millions of voters are not Republican or Democrats. They swung left in a year like 2018. They are swinging right in a year like 2022.”
According to the New York State Board of Elections, New York has approximately 6.5 million Democrats, and nearly 2.8 million Republicans, out of almost 13 million registered voters.
Hochul assumed office in August 2021, after former Governor Andrew Cuomo quit amid allegations of sexual harassment. In polls, she has consistently outperformed her Democratic primary opponents, U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi from Long Island and Jumaane Wils. Hochul would be the first woman to be elected governor of New York if she won the November general election.
This year, the race for lieutenant Governor has received more attention. After a federal corruption indictment, Brian Benjamin, the former state senator, was elected Hochul’s first choice for the post.
Benjamin replaced Hochul with Antonio Delgado (an ex-U.S. representative from Hudson Valley). He will be challenged by Diana Reyna, a former New York City Council member, and progressive activist Ana Maria Archila. Who endorsed her U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez.
“This time it feels so important because we’ve seen a lieutenant governor rise to the position of governor. Greer stated that a lieutenant governor was indicted. People are wondering if we should pay more attention to No.”
Hochul’s path to victory in the primary wasn’t always easy. Her opponent, Attorney General Letitia Jams, was a bigger primary field. James could have snatched liberal, downstate, and Black voter support from Hochul. Instead, Hochul is a Buffalo native with low name recognition in areas like New York City.
Hochul, a brilliant fundraiser, has built a multimillion-dollar war fund and dramatically out-raised her primary competitors. As she enters a possible general election race in November, Hochul still has the largest cash reserves of any party candidate.
According to state campaign finance records, Hochul’s campaign reported $34 Million in contributions and $23.2 Million in expenditures between August 2021 and August 2021. Williams raised $528.358 during that time and spent almost $390,000. Suozzi raised $7.4million and spent $7.8million.
Hochul ran ads supporting abortion access and rights, in contrast with her Republican opponents, following the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion. Hochul also spent many of her televised primary debates highlighting legislative accomplishments on gun control.
Eric Koch, a Democratic strategist and founder of Downfield Strategies communications company, stated that Governor Hochul “has built a battleship campaign.” “Coming out the primary, she’s going have a lot momentum against the Republicans that have been forced into competing over who loves Donald Trump most.”