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Hochul picks up 2022 support from Albany, Onondaga, Monroe Democratic chairs

NY Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visits Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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NY Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visits Plattsburgh

As she prepares to run for a full term in 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul picked up endorsements from the chairs of three influential county Democratic committees Thursday.

The Albany, Onondaga and Monroe County Democratic Committee chairs are backing Hochul, who could face a crowded primary field next year. The county chairs say they will endorse state Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli if they run for re-election rather than for governor.

James has been considering mounting a run for governor. State Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs has also endorsed Hochul.

Jake Crawford chairs the Albany County Democratic Committee and spoke with WAMC Thursday.

What led to this decision?

So it's been very important to myself, as chair of the Albany County Democratic Party, as well as other cahirs across upstate New York to be supportive of Governor Hochul, obviously, she pursues her full term and seeks election in New York State next year. Governor Hochul has been there for the county Democratic parties across the state. She has been at many of our events. She's always there to connect with our individual committee members are elected officials across Albany County. And she's always been there to support us in everything we need. So we felt that it was time for us to support her she pursued this office.

Have you seen enough from Governor Hochul, who's only been in office since August, to say that she deserves a full term, though?

I've seen enough out of her whole career that says she deserves a full term as governor, that's clear to me. Everything she's done from the town board level on up to being governor, it's clear.

What specifically has she done for counties and for the county Democratic operations?

Specifically, I mean, Governor Hochul, both when she was lieutenant governor, and now as governor, has attended a number of our events, has been there to honor women of distinction in Albany County, present them with awards, has done outreach to our local committee members, our elected officials to see what they can do. She's been very helpful with the Regional Economic Development Councils over the years. So she's done a lot to ensure that Albany County, as well as counties across upstate, have a voice both on the second floor and now in the governor's office.

In your statement, you labeled this a personal endorsement. Is there a distinction there between the Albany County Democratic Committee and you, Jake, making an endorsement of Hochul?

Absolutely. The county Democratic Party can and always will go through its own internal process, which includes both our executive committee members, as well as all 600 of our county committee members that will have their own ability to weigh in on this race.

Do you think that Letitia James will run for governor?

I don't know yet. I haven't had the opportunity to speak with her about her plans for seeking the governorship.

So let me follow up by asking this. What's wrong with some competition. If she gets in the race, is that necessarily bad?

Competition is never a bad thing. I just wanted to make sure that Democrats in Albany County knew where I stood. And I think Kathy Hochul is going is a great governor is going to be a great governor for the next four years.

What makes her a better candidate for governor presumably against Republican Zeldin than some of the other names that have been mentioned in recent weeks?

Well, I don't know that Lee Zeldin has a vision that is compatible with New York State, especially with what we need to have done in New York State to move forward. We're doing our best to move out of the pandemic, we're doing our best to ensure that businesses reopen, reopen safely and have the ability to recover after what's happened over the past two years. And I'm afraid of what a Zeldin administration would do to turn the clock back in New York State compared to what a Hochul administration will do to move the state forward.

Do you have any thoughts on the possibility that Andrew Cuomo could get into the race next year?

I don't have any thoughts on that. I think that this state has moved on from his administration at this point, and I think we are looking forward to a local administration over the next four years. Obviously, the governor has been sending out emails to people and his supporters over the past few weeks, but what he chooses to do is what he chooses to do, but I know how I will vote at the state convention next year.

So if you were asked by Cuomo or his people about running your advice would be don't?

Absolutely.

How confident are you that Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will win reelection next month?

Absolutely confident.

What makes you confident?

Mayor Sheehan’s doing a great job. She is doing everything she can, again to move the city forward out of the pandemic and I think the voters of the Democratic Party are prepared to give Mayor Sheehan another four year term. And I think the voters of the city of Albany, which are a strong majority of Democrats, are prepared to give Mayor Sheehan another four year term. She deserves one.