Williams launches New York gubernatorial bid

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams formally launched his gubernatorial campaign Tuesday, joining a growing Democratic primary in a closely watched statewide election.

Williams touted his progressive bona fides in a campaign launch video, noting the number of times he’s been arrested protesting against aggressive police tactics, deportations and more, and said he would represent a new wave of leadership in New York.

“Right now, our state needs to move forward from a pandemic, from an era of scandal and from old ways of governing that have failed so many for so long. For over a decade in office, I’ve shaken things up while passing nearly 70 laws on behalf of the people and more than any public advocate in history,” he said. 

“There is a movement building in New York, a courageous, progressive movement that challenges the powerful and helps restore that power to the people, a movement I’m proud to be a part of. Because without courageous, progressive leadership, the way things have always been will stand in the way of what they can be.”

Williams joins New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Attorney General Letitia James in the Democratic primary next year. Rep. Tom Suozzi and outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are also mulling runs. 

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who had been gearing up to run for a fourth term, resigned earlier this year after being accused of sexual harassment and assault by several women. 

The winner of the Democratic nominating contest will be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election next year.

Williams, who has long roots in activism and previously served as a New York City councilman, is closely aligned with the Democratic Party’s left flank. Hochul and James, meanwhile, are more associated with the moderate wing the of the party. 

Still, Williams and James are both Black and both have roots in Brooklyn, leading observers to speculate they could take bites out of the same base and expand Hochul’s path to the nomination as the field currently stands.

“Throughout his career, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has been an important leader on issues from police reform to housing and we welcome him to the race,” James’s campaign said in a statement.

“Attorney General James is running a changemaking campaign for governor and as we’ve seen in just a short time there has been a groundswell of support from New Yorkers, labor unions, elected officials and others around her historic candidacy for governor,” it added. 

Tags Andrew Cuomo Bill de Blasio Jumaane Williams Kathy Hochul Letitia James New York gubernatorial election Tom Suozzi

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