Former U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul has been tapped by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as his new running mate, The Washington Post reported
"She was always on the short list," Cuomo said during the announcement. "There was a lot of talent to choose from."
The lieutenant governor's role is mostly a ceremonial one in the Empire State, however its potential was demonstrated in 2008 when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer left office over a prostitution scandal and then-lieutenant governor David Patterson stepped in to fill the role.
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Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy of Rochester will be retiring from politics and will therefore not seek reelection with Cuomo.
The Buffalo News reported
that Hochul's presence will not only offer gender balance to the Democratic ticket, but also strengthen the office of the governor's ability to serve western New York.
"This should be another big boost for Buffalo," said Cuomo, alluding to Hochul's term as the area's first Democrat representative in four decades. "This is a big deal to have a lieutenant governor from your town." Hochul lost the seat to Republican Chris Collins in the last election, and has since been working as a government relations specialist for a Buffalo-based bank.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D), Suffolk County Executive Steve Ballone (D) and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney (R) were also considered for the position, Cuomo reported.
"I think she helps with his support upstate and in Western New York where he was damaged a lot by the SAFE Act," Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, said in response to the announcement. The act, passed in January 2013, included a number of firearms regulations that drew backlash from all corners of the state.
Cuomo made it clear that Hochul supports the act, and said he hoped her relationship with gun-rights groups would help the party regain footing outside of Manhattan.
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