New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs has endorsed Kathy Hochul for governor.
On the same day, October 4, Jacobs simultaneously endorsed incumbents Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, Attorney General, Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, suggesting that some of these potential challengers to Hochul allow the new governor to “make her mark.” New York City Advocate Jumaane Williams also recently announced he formed an exploratory committee for the 2022 gubernatorial election.
Jacobs, who also chairs the Nassau County Democratic Committee, said “from the beginning, I have been urging those considering a primary run for governor to hold their powder and allow the incumbent governor to make her mark and put forward her agenda. Over the past few days, it has become apparent that some are not willing to wait.”
The chairman made it clear that he is speaking on his own accord and not for the New York State and Nassau County Democratic Committees. “Each of them will make their own endorsements at their own Committee Meetings,” Jacob said. “And, I am not so arrogant as to assume that anyone will follow me or any potential candidate will change their decisions because of me. By making [an] endorsement, however, I will now be free, as a leader, to do what I can to keep our party united.”
Chairman Jacobs’ full statement:
As New York State Democratic Chair, my primary responsibility is to work to ensure the election of qualified Democrats to our state offices. With the resignation of Governor Cuomo in late August and the ascension of Kathy Hochul to that office, numbers of qualified and talented Democrats have been exploring the option of seeking the Democratic nomination. That, in turn, has opened the possibility of other down-ballot primaries as elected officials consider moving up from one office to another.
“Complicating the current environment is the fact that the election schedule has been dramatically shortened with the State Convention due to take place in about four months with the primary in less than nine. From the beginning, I have been urging those considering a primary run for governor to hold their powder and allow the incumbent governor to make her mark and put forward her agenda. Over the past few days, it has become apparent that some are not willing to wait.
“Accordingly, I am today announcing my personal endorsement of Governor Kathy Hochul for election to a full term as our Governor. I am also endorsing our current full ticket: Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin and Attorney General, Letitia James for Attorney General and Tom DiNapoli for Comptroller.
I am endorsing Kathy Hochul for three clear and simple reasons:
1. She can do the job and will be a great governor. In her first six weeks as Governor she has demonstrated clear leadership in dealing with the State’s most difficult challenges; extreme weather, the COVID-19 pandemic, rental assistance funding, along with a host of other urgent and important issues;
2. Clearly, she can win the General Election. Not every aspirant who can gain our nomination will necessarily win. Kathy is a pragmatic progressive who will properly balance the need and demand for change with what can be accepted by voters in ALL parts of our state;
3. She has earned our support. In her seven years as Lieutenant Governor no one has worked harder travelling over and over, again and again, to all 62 counties in support of county committees and candidates running for office. She has raised money and stood on street corners greeting voters to help candidates from Erie to Suffolk and everywhere in between. There are many Democratic office holders that, at least in part, owe their election to her. More than a few are right here in Nassau County. Loyalty is a two-way street and I don’t forget that – nor should anyone else.
“To be clear, I make these endorsements in my capacities as Chair of the New York State and Nassau County Democratic Committees, but I do not speak for those committees. Each of them will make their own endorsements at their own Committee Meetings. And, I am not so arrogant as to assume that anyone will follow me or any potential candidate will change their decisions because of me. By making endorsement, however, I will now be free, as a leader, to do what I can to keep our party united.
“I have been advised by some to let the process play out and that my tenure as State Chair will have a shortened shelf life should Democratic Primary voters disagree with my choices. I did not take this job to spend my days worrying about keeping this job.
“Let’s be clear: I have been around for the first midterm election of quite a few newly elected Presidents. Historically, they do not go well for the incumbent party – all the way down ballot. I make no assumption that the Republicans cannot possibly win in New York State. A party torn apart by multiple candidates in multiple primaries for multiple offices will exhaust precious resources, divide us, and make us weaker when we need to be at our strongest.
“Ambition is a necessary trait in our business. But no one should supplant the unity and success of our party with their own ambition. We HAVE a Governor who has proven she can do the job and do it with distinction. We HAVE a Governor who can and will defeat any Republican opponent in the fall. And, we HAVE a Governor who, by any measure, has earned our support. Accordingly, it is my pleasure to endorse Governor Kathy Hochul and the entire Democratic slate for election this November.”