New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation at the New York State Capitol, in Albany, New York, August 11, 2021.
Cindy Schultz | Reuters
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday she plans to run for governor in the state’s 2022 race after she finishes the remainder of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s term.
“I fully expect to. I’ve prepared for this,” Hochul said when asked on NBC’s “TODAY” whether she will run.
“I am confident that they’ll see that I fight like hell every single day. It’s how I’m hardwired, and I’m looking forward to this challenge, and I won’t let New Yorkers down,” Hochul said in the interview.
Hochul will succeed Cuomo in less than two weeks and will complete the last 15 months of his term. The governor announced his resignation following a bombshell report released by the New York State Attorney General’s office that found he sexually harassed at least 11 women and oversaw a hostile working environment in his office.
Hochul said Wednesday she is ready to take the helm and vowed not to have the same “toxic” workplace that her predecessor allegedly had for his three terms. She also said she would oust any Cuomo staff or officials who were implicated in the report.
“No one who was named as doing anything unethical in the report will remain in my administration,” Hochul said Wednesday. “There will be turnover.”
Hochul as lieutenant governor has amassed a war chest of roughly $1.7 million, according to state campaign finance records.
She already has a strong mix of wealthy donors from a wide range of industries including those in real estate, labor and health care, according to state campaign finance records. Donors include William Rudin, the CEO of Rudin Management; Samuel Savarino, the head of Buffalo-based construction firm Savarino Companies; and the International Union of Operating Engineers.
The formidable campaign funding suggests Hochul has an advantage going into 2022.
Other potential Democratic contenders include State Attorney General Letitia James, who oversaw the months-long investigation into Cuomo. She is seen as having ambitions for higher office but has not said whether she would run.
Cuomo, despite stepping down within the next two weeks, could still run for governor again if he’s not impeached and convicted by the state legislature. The governor had more than $18 million in campaign funds on hand by the end of the first half of this year.
New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is also considering running for governor next year, according to key Democratic Party sources in and around Albany. The Democrat was one of several critics of Cuomo’s workplace environment and had called on the governor to resign.
But Biaggi is not a household name like other contenders and has only $185,000 in campaign funds, according to New York State campaign finance records, making it unlikely she would win the election.
Several Republican candidates have also announced their plans to run for governor next year, including U.S. Rep. Lee Zedlin and Westchester County executive Rob Astoriano, according to The Wall Street Journal. Andrew Giuliani, a former aide in the Trump administration and the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has also announced his candidacy.
— CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.