Multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul campaigned through the Hudson Valley Saturday, with a “Women’s Equality Party” bus tour stopping in Mt. Kisco, Poughkeepsie and Kingston. At each stop Hochul announced her (and running mate Andrew Cuomo’s) endorsement of the local Democratic state senate candidate; Justin Wagner in Mt. Kisco, incumbent Terry Gipson in Poughkeepsie and incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk in Kingston.
These races are highly competitive and are expected to play a central part in determining control of the state senate. Wagner is seeking an open seat, currently held by Republican Greg Ball. Tkaczyk faces former state senator George Amedore, who she defeated in 2012 by 18 votes and Gipson faces a strong challenge from Republican Sue Serino. It’s notable that Cuomo is engaging in these races, although that engagement is tempered by the lack of appearing in person.
Hochul’s Poughkeepsie appearance at Marist College, spectacularly perched above the Hudson River, included Senator Gipson declaring “well that’s a surprise” immediately after Hochul announced the Cuomo/Hochul endorsement. It may not have been an immediate surprise, seeing as this was a planned campaign stop, but it is a marked longer-term turn of events. In 2012 Cuomo endorsed and campaigned for Republican and then-incumbent Senator Steve Saland against Gipson. Saland was one of four Republican senators voting in favor of marriage equality in June 2011, and Cuomo publicly supported all four.
When I asked Hochul about the change from opposing to supporting Gipson, she offered that she and Cuomo “feel very strongly that Senator Gipson will be the vote we need to get the full Women’s Equality Agenda through the legislature.”
We also spoke with Hochul about the three propositions on the November ballot – her views are here.