Democrats face off in last NY governor debate before primary

·2 min read

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is running for election to the post after taking it on following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, faced off Thursday in a final debate with two of her fellow Democrats, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City’s elected public advocate, Jumaane Williams, who are challenging her in the race.

Early voting starts Saturday in New York, where Democrats will weigh in on their party’s future in a race that has pitted the state’s moderate, first female governor against a centrist Long Island congressman and a progressive New York City official.

Hochul came into the debate touting a new endorsement from New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a fellow Democrat; newly signed laws protecting abortion providers and patients; and a spot atop the latest of a string of polls suggesting she has outsize support ahead of the June 28 primary.

She has also sent out property tax rebate checks earlier than usual to New Yorkers ahead of the primary alongside letters that say the checks were provided by “Gov. Hochul and the New York State Legislature.”

Suozzi, who had hoped Adams would decline to endorse anyone in the primary, has said he’ll again make the case that he’ll succeed where he says Hochul has failed on tackling crime and affordability in New York state. The accountant and attorney wants to reduce Medicaid costs, create a public bank to help underserved communities access loans, and push for high-speed rail across the Northeast.

Williams has said Hochul, like her predecessor Cuomo, has failed to take enough bold steps to help New Yorkers. He has vowed to create or preserve a million new affordable housing units, increase clean energy investments, pass a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, guarantee health care for all New Yorkers, and make it harder to evict tenants.

Williams last faced Hochul in the Democratic lieutenant governor primary. She won by 6.6 percentage points, or nearly 100,000 votes.

Hochul has a steep fundraising advantage as of late May, when she reported an $18.6 million campaign war chest.

That dwarfed Suozzi’s $5.25 million and Williams’ $130,000.

But both Suozzi and Williams said they planned to use Thursday's debate that they can tackle corruption, crime and gun violence better than Hochul.

Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press

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