N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul wins coveted NYT endorsement

The New York Times late Sunday endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, saying she is a refreshing change from ego-driven leaders of the past and poised to take on issues like gun violence, voting rights and abortion access.

“It’s a moment, in other words, when leadership matters,” the editorial board wrote. “Gov. Kathy Hochul is already leading on these questions, and she deserves an additional four years as chief executive of New York. She has our endorsement to be elected governor.”

The editorial board said the federal government is paralyzed on many important issues so state leadership will be crucial. It praised the governor for being a sober presence after Andrew Cuomo resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

“In her first months in office, Ms. Hochul gave the state exactly what it needed: a competent, steady hand who put the interests of the public first,” the board wrote.

The Times said the governor erred in choosing former state Sen. Brian Benjamin to serve as lieutenant governor. Mr. Benjamin was later indicted on charges of bribery and fraud. 

Ms. Hochul told the editorial board she takes “full responsibility” for choosing him but did not clarify why she seemed to miss red flags from his background check and news accounts of potentially fraudulent campaign donations.

The newspaper hailed Ms. Hochul for opting to make New York a “safe harbor” for abortion rights as the Supreme Court prepares to strike down the Roe v. Wade decision that granted a broad right to the procedure.

It also praised her for raising the minimum age for purchasing military-style weapons from 18 to 21 and passing other gun restrictions despite her past A-rating from the National Rifle Association.

The governor said the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, changed her thinking on the subject.

The board said Ms. Hochul’s primary opponents, Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, bring needed perspectives to the race but their policies are not what Albany needs right now.

New York’s primary elections for governor are set for June 28.

The Republican primary features Rep. Lee Zeldin; Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani; Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive; and Harry Wilson, a businessman and turnaround expert who helps struggling companies.

The New York Times is not making an endorsement in the Republican primary.

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