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Candidates for NY’s Next Governor: Who’s Running to Run This State?

November 30, 2021 Rachel Holliday Smith, THE CITY
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New York had a decade of Andrew Cuomo. And we’re just getting used to Kathy Hochul. Who will voters choose to lead the state next?

Cuomo’s replacement, his lieutenant governor, Hochul, hopes to turn her short stint as chief executive into a proper four-year term via the 2022 election.

She has already registered her gubernatorial campaign, announcing her intention to run even before she was sworn in Aug. 24. The Buffalo native is already aiming to raise $25 million and led the first major poll in the race.

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But she will be far from the only Democrat vying for the job.

Even before Cuomo resigned in disgrace this August, several of his fellow party members said they were considering a run, including city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Attorney General Letitia James, whose office’s investigation led to Cuomo’s resignation, and Mayor Bill de Blasio are now both in the running, as well.

Meanwhile, Republicans have been suiting up for a fight for months, if not years, and are already fundraising and mobilizing. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino are among the GOP candidates who have filed 2022 campaigns with the state, records show.

To help you parse who’s in and who’s out, here’s a guide on the 2022 gubernatorial candidates. as we know them so far in alphabetical order. We’ll keep updating this piece as the campaign moves along:

The Democrats

Bill de Blasio: The mayor of New York City has long hinted about a 2022 campaign and said in early September he wants to “keep serving” when asked if he’d seek the governorship. He filed paperwork in early November with the state Board of Elections to officially begin campaign fundraising efforts.

Kathy Hochul: She will serve as New York’s governor through the 2022 election, at least until Jan. 1, 2023.  Her latest role in government, becoming the first woman to hold the state’s top job, is the pinnacle of years working in public service, mostly in Western New York.

As THE CITY reported in this piece about her career, Hochul served as Erie County clerk, then briefly represented Buffalo in Congress in 2011 after winning a special election. She ran with Cuomo for lieutenant governor in 2014 and 2018, though it was recently revealed that Cuomo had wanted to kick her off the 2022 ticket.

Letitia James: She has served as state attorney general since 2019. Her team has been exploring the possibility of a run since shortly after Cuomo stepped down from the governorship, at least, THE CITY has reported. James’ office led the investigation that spurred Cuomo’s departure.

Previous to becoming AG, James served as the city’s public advocate between 2013 and 2018, and represented Brooklyn 35th District in the City Council between 2004 and 2013. When she was elected to the City Council, she was the first candidate to win a citywide office solely on the Working Families Party line.

Jumaane Williams: As New York City’s public advocate, he’s spoken about a run for governor for months. Williams announced in late September that he was forming an exploratory committee for a potential race. In November, he announced his gubernatorial campaign.

Williams has served as public advocate since 2019. Previous to that, he served as City Council member for Flatbush, Brooklyn between 2010 and 2019. He ran and lost to Hochul in his 2018 bid for Lieutenant Governor.

The Democrats unofficially in the race include:

Steve Bellone, county executive in Suffolk County: The Daily News reported this spring that he was mulling a run as Cuomo faced calls to resign.

Mike Spano, mayor of Yonkers: He’s formed an exploratory committee for 2022, Yonkers Times reported.

State Attorney Gen. Letitia James speaks at a rally in City Hall Park in July 2021.
Photo by Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The Republicans 

Republican hopefuls have been more proactive in launching runs. Among them:

Rob Astorino: He served as county executive in Westchester between 2010 and 2017 and got his professional start in talk radio and television. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, garnering 40% of the vote against Cuomo and then-lieutenant Hochul, who together won with 54%. Astorino registered his 2022 campaign with the state BOE in May, records show.

Mike Carpinelli: He currently serves as sheriff of Lewis County and has spent his career in law enforcement in Kingston and Rochester. He is “President Trump’s favorite sheriff,” his campaign website reads, and has spoken out against mask mandates and New York’s gun control laws. He launched his campaign in August 2020, state BOE records show.

Derrick Gibson: He’s a former construction and automotive business owner from Forest Hills, Queens, who has turned to podcasting and political activism. Gibson calls himself a “true conservative” who was “on the front lines for President Donald Trump at all the ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies,” his campaign site reads. He registered his 2022 campaign with the state in February 2020.

Andrew Giuliani: The son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a golfer turned Trump administration official who later became a television pundit for Newsmax. He launched his campaign in May of this year, BOE records show. Despite his famous surname, Giuliani’s chances to win the election are long: In a straw poll this summer, he garnered no votes from state Republican leadership.

Lee Zeldin: He’s the current Congressional representative for eastern Long Island, a former state senator and member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Zeldin has long been an ally of Donald Trump and was one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results. Zeldin is the money leader among the GOP candidates, with $3.2 million on hand as of July. He also has the early backing of GOP county leaders in the state and is their “presumed nominee,” Politico New York reported.

Mayoral son, and candidate, Andrew Giuliani.
Facebook photo

The Maybes

Some possible contenders have yet to say definitively what they’re thinking about a run. Among them:

Alessandra Biaggi: The state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester   considered a gubernatorial run but is now looking at a possible bid for lieutenant governor, instead, CNBC reported.

George Pataki: The three-term former Republican governor told NY1 in August that “you never say never in politics” when asked about a possible return to the Executive Mansion.

Christine Quinn: The former City Council speaker wouldn’t rule out a run when asked about the possibility on PIX11.

Tom DiNapoli, the state comptroller’s, was rumored to be thinking about a run earlier this year as Cuomo faced pressure to step down. But DiNapoli ruled out a run in an interview with WAMC in July.

Speculation has also swirled around influential House Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Queens/L.I.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-The Bronx/Queens), but neither has yet indicated a real interest in the governorship.

Cuomo himself is not barred from running for his old job again. Without being impeached, he is still allowed to hold office in New York State — and, at last count, his active campaign account still holds about $18 million. He could use that money to play kingmaker.

Several other people have started campaign committees registered with the state, records show, but little could be found about their campaigns or platforms. They are: Nicolae Albert Bunea, John Jay Hathaway, Abbey S. Laurel-Smith, Dr. Kris Alan Lord and Gregory Alan Vernon.


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