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Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State and Nassau County Democratic Party committees, endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul for re-election on Monday. (Photo by Briana Bonfiglio)

New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs announced his endorsement of Gov. Kathy Hochul for re-election in 2022 at a news conference in Garden City on Monday.

Jacobs, who has also been chair of the Nassau County Democratic Committee for the past 20 years, said he believes the new governor has the experience, party loyalty, and voter favorability to run a successful campaign next year.

“She’s demonstrated that in her leadership addressing some of the issues and challenges that have come to her immediately upon taking office: the extreme weather, the Covid-19 crisis, the rent and subsidy issues, and so many other issues,” Jacobs said. “She is a pragmatic Democrat, a moderate, and she will have a message that resonates with the overwhelming majority of New York voters.”

Jacobs endorsed the full slate of statewide incumbents — Hochul, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, Attorney General Letitia James, and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The party leader called these his personal endorsements that do not reflect the views of the Nassau nor state democratic organizations as a whole, which will each announce endorsements at their respective conventions. 

When pressed on the timing of his endorsement, Jacobs said he wishes to be transparent about his intentions for the upcoming election.

“I am also not so arrogant as to assume that anyone will follow me or that any candidate that is currently considering a run will change course at this time,” he said. “I believe, however, that by making this endorsement as a leader, I will now be free to do what I can and should do to ensure that we keep our party united.”

During a Q&A with reporters, Jacobs revealed that he made about 10 calls to Democratic elected officials this morning to inform them of his decision, including former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He noted that the former governor has not indicated whether or not he would run again, but called his potential run “a bad idea.”

“We’ve been through an awful lot as a state party and a state,” he said, “and I think it’s time to move forward. We have a governor. And I think it would be counterproductive for Cuomo to engage in a primary run at this time.”

Hochul, who previously served as lieutenant governor under Cuomo, took office as the governor of New York on Aug. 24, two weeks after Cuomo announced his resignation on Aug. 10 amid a slew of scandals, including AG James’ scathing report of alleged sexual misconduct and a toxic work environment. 

James and Cuomo have both expressed interest in running in the primary for Democratic candidate for governor, as well as New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced his campaign for governor in April and has since emerged as the GOP’s gubernatorial frontrunner.

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