Kathy Hochul says she’ll run for full NY governor term in 2022

Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) speaks to the press after a House Democratic caucus meeting on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.
Greg Nash

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who is set to become governor later this month once Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) resignation goes into effect, said she intends on running for a full term for the state’s top job next year.

Hochul, when asked if she will run for her own full term in next year’s election, responded “Yes, I will.”

“I fully expect to. I’m prepared for this,” Hochul told Savannah Guthrie on “Today” during her first live interview as the incoming governor.

She went on to list her credentials for the position, adding that she is “the most prepared person” to take on the role of governor.

“I’ve led a life working in every level of government from Congress to local government. I am the most prepared person to assume this responsibility, and I’m going to ask the voters at some point for their faith in me again, but right now I need their faith, I need their prayers and I need their support to make sure we get this right,” Hochul said.

Hochul entered the spotlight on Tuesday after Cuomo announced his resignation one week after the state attorney general released a bombshell report that said the governor sexually harassed 11 women, some of whom he worked with, and violated state and federal laws.

The report, from Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office, also found that Cuomo and some of his aides retaliated against one of the women who came forward with allegations.

Cuomo, at first defiant to calls for him to step down, ultimately conceded to the pressure to resign, saying in an address “given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore that’s what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you.”

He said Hochul, who is poised to become the first female governor of New York, is “smart and competent,” adding “this transition must be seamless; we have a lot going on.”

The New York gubernatorial race is already gearing up to be a contentious contest, with three notable Republicans jockeying for their party’s nomination.

Among the Republicans vying to be chief of the Empire State are Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.); Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino (R).

The chairs of county Republican Party organizations voted to name Zeldin as the party’s presumptive gubernatorial nominee, giving the lawmaker a boost ahead of next year’s primary election.

Zeldin received 85 percent of the vote, with Astorino in second with 5 percent. Giuliani did not receive any votes, and 10 percent of the county officials abstained.

The Democratic field could also increase in the coming months, with some failed New York City mayoral candidates potentially throwing their hats in the ring.

Hochul, when asked by Guthrie how she will change the “toxic culture” in the governor’s office, said anyone who was mentioned in James’s report as “being involved in any kind of unethical behavior [will] no longer be part of this administration.”

“They’re gone on day one, so let’s get that very clear,” she added.

The incoming governor also weighed in on the nationwide debate regarding mask mandates in schools, telling Guthrie that she believes there will end up being mask mandates in schools.

She said the administration has to converse with school districts to learn what is behind potential objections to such a policy.

Hochul emphasized, however, that she does not yet have the authority to make such a decision because Cuomo is still in office.

Tags 2022 election 2022 midterm elections Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo Cuomo resignation Kathy Hochul Lee Zeldin New York governor Rudy Giuliani

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