When Kathy Hochul (D) took her oath of office to succeed former Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoJumaane Williams makes run for New York governor official Katie Couric: CNN shouldn't have let Chris Cuomo 'yuk it up' with brother Andrew during pandemic State Department issues first US passport with X gender marker MORE (D) shortly after midnight Tuesday, she became the 57th person — and the first woman — in New York’s nearly 250-year history to hold the state's top office.
Hochul becomes the ninth female governor in office today, matching the all-time high set three times in the last two decades. Nine women previously held their states' top offices in 2004, 2007 and 2019.
Today, Hochul joins the governors of Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and South Dakota, all of whom are women.
She is one of four — along with Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownEx-NYT columnist Kristof launches Oregon governor bid Kristof leaves NYT to consider governor bid NYT columnist Kristof takes step toward Oregon governor bid MORE (D), Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyAlabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandates Alabama using COVID funds to build new prisons — is that Biden's vision? Street honoring Confederate president renamed in Alabama capital MORE (R) and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) — to have ascended to the top office when their predecessors stepped down.
Her ascension leaves 19 states that have never had a female governor, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. The states that have never been run by a woman are a cross-regional, cross-party set that includes some of the nation’s most populous states, like California, Florida and Georgia, and some of its least populous, like North Dakota, West Virginia and Idaho.
Hochul’s rise comes after Cuomo resigned under pressure from former allies in the state legislature, after a report from Attorney General Letitia James (D) — a potential gubernatorial contender herself — found credible sexual harassment allegations leveled by multiple women over the course of Cuomo’s decade in office.
It is not Hochul’s first experience taking over for a man undone by his own behavior: She won a special election to Congress in 2011 after her predecessor, Rep. Chris Lee (R), acknowledged soliciting sex from a woman on Craigslist.
The number of female governors is likely to change, and potentially set a new record, after next year’s midterm elections.
Oregon’s Brown faces term limits; Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D), Maine Gov. Janet MillsJanet MillsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter Supreme Court won't block vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers MORE (D), Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerFunding to replace the nation's dangerous lead service lines must stay in reconciliation bill Rise in ready-to-drink cocktails fuels tax fight Ambulance, EMT first responders face 'crippling workforce shortage' MORE (D) and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico governor eyeing stricter safety protocols for productions after 'Rust' shooting Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Hochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor MORE (D) are all likely to face serious challenges as they run for reelection.
At the same time, women are already lining up to run for top offices. Several of the leading contenders to replace retiring Arizona Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Arizona launches M program to help families pay utility bills GOP governors traveling to border to unveil new security initiative MORE (R), on both the Democratic and Republican sides, are women. The two leading Republicans vying to succeed Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonOne bipartisan remedy to the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks? passing the Equality Act Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Arkansas governor says mandates are increasing vaccine hesitancy MORE (R) are women. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) faces a tough Democratic primary in her bid to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida strips schools of federal aid for mask mandates Florida surgeon general defends not wearing mask in meeting with ill state senator Florida school district to relax mask mandate for high school students MORE (R).
Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) faces a primary challenge from his own lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin (R). Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) is said to be considering a run for the top office, while Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has not decided whether to seek a third term. And several women are considering bids in New Hampshire, where Gov. Chris SununuChris SununuPoll: New Hampshire Senate race tight Democratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision MORE (R) is contemplating a run for a U.S. Senate seat.
New York appears to have set another record with Hochul’s rise to power: She will be replaced as lieutenant governor by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate president — which makes New York the first state to have women in the top two positions.
That record is only temporary, though: Stewart-Cousins, who has become a powerful force in Albany in her own right, holds the No. 2 slot on a temporary basis. Hochul, who has said she will run for governor next year, will choose her own running mate in the coming months.