In an outdoor City Hall press conference Mayor Bill de Blasio today publicly endorsed Kathy Hochul, Andrew Cuomo’s selected candidate, for lieutenant governor. Although the Democratic Party’s nominees for governor and lieutenant governor will run as a combined ticket in the November general election, they’re selected in separate primaries. The primaries, scheduled for Tuesday September 9th, have Cuomo aligned with Hochul and Zephyr Teachout aligned with Tim Wu. Wu is widely seen as having a greater (albeit still slim) chance at victory than Teachout.
For the past six weeks or so Hochul has engaged in low profile, but active, campaigning. She visits often with local Democratic office holders in the City, on little or no advance public notice, tweeting and publishing pictures post-visit. It’s a shrewd strategy, raising her limited name recognition among Democratic clubs and organizations while mostly avoiding answering questions from the press. (Here’s our report on one such Hochul appearance.) As the primary nears, however, Teachout and Wu have garnered a number of endorsements and favorable press coverage, with Wu endorsed by the New York Times. These developments appear to worry the Cuomo/Hochul campaign, producing a very public endorsement press conference today, featuring the mayor, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and 20 other members of the City Council.
Following the press conference Hochul headed back toward City Hall. She was engaged first by a woman asking about her stance on fracking. After separating from her, Hochul was surrounded by reporters, with Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 asking whether she would support allowing New York City’s expected municipal IDs to be used to enter state government buildings and access state government services. She spoke briefly, deflecting the question and arguing that her widely-noted opposition to then-Governor Eliot Spitzer’s 2007 proposal to issue drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants was rooted in terrorism-related concerns.
Here’s how it went:
Update – Q&A:
His Honor and Hochul answered questions from the press. Among the questions: why would it be bad (in the mayor’s view) for Tim Wu, who is to the left of Kathy Hochul, to be LG, how does the mayor square City safety concerns with Hochul’s past stances on guns, whether as a past New York City Public Advocate de Blasio supports Tim Wu’s idea that the lieutenant governor should act as a statewide public advocate, Hochul’s current views on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, whether Hochul supports NYC’s municipal ID program and why Hochul and Andrew Cuomo have refused to debate their primary opponents.