Gov. Kathy Hochul took an easy win in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, allowing her to claim her full term in office in November after taking office last year when a sexual harassment scandal forced former government leader Andrew Cuomo to resign in disgrace.
Hochul, New York’s first female governor, was 65% to 22% ahead of city public attorney Jumaane Williams, while outgoing U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island) trailed both by 13%, leaving 18 % of districts reported when the Associated Press mentioned the race.
Hochul, 63, consistently led the pre-election polls, with the most recent putting her a whopping 36 percentage points ahead of Suozzi.
The polls led Democratic adviser Evan Stavisky to predict to The Post earlier this month that “it would take a real miracle, rather than a Hail Mary, for the governor to lose this primary.”
But the Buffalo native wasn’t considered a shoo-in until after Cuomo decided to stay on the sidelines, with a March poll showing him just 8 percentage points behind Hochul in a hypothetical primary match.
Hochul also faced a brief challenge from Attorney General Letitia James, who was seen as a likely Cuomo opponent before his resignation, accusing her of tracking him down with a probe that revealed he had assaulted 11 women, including nine current or former state workers.
But James — who also released a blockbuster report on Cuomo’s assumption of deaths in nursing homes from COVID-19 — gave up her short-lived bid for governor in December and decided to seek reelection instead.
That move came after she failed to meet a $5 million fundraising goal set by Democratic leaders in Brooklyn, her political base, sources have told The Post.
Hochul’s confidence that she had the primary in the bag apparently led her to skip the first of three scheduled debates with her Democratic rivals, claiming she should instead focus on the scheduled last day of the legislative session.
The move prompted Suozzi and Williams to knock her on issues like crime, gun control, and mayorship of schools in New York City.
During the second debate, Hochul’s rivals fired on Hochul’s plan to use $850 million in taxpayer dollars to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, while her husband serves as a general counsel for the company that runs the concession stands, restaurants and retail stores. there runs .
The latest showdown included a clash between Hochul and Suozzi over her nomination of former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, who resigned following his federal corruption charges related to an alleged plan to exchange a state grant for campaign contributions.
But none of the exchanges included the kind of knockout punch it took for Hochul’s rivals to move the needle in polls that also showed she would likely have the upper hand over any GOP challenger in November.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 in the deep-blue Empire State, which has not had a GOP governor since George Pataki left office in 2006.