Hochul Rejects Race Against Collins

As Cuomo Eyes Washington, She Says She Prefers To Work In Albany

Dave Debo
May 16, 2017 - 6:25 am

AP Photo 2014

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(WBEN)  Buffalo's native Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she will run for Lt. Governor in 2018, and is ruling out a challenge to Cong. Chris Collins and a return to the seat she briefly held before he defeated her.

Hochul tells the New York Daily News that she anticipates running with Cuomo in 2018, the same year Collins is up for re-election.

“Washington has become so dysfunctional,” Hochul told the Daily News. “I’m the type of person who wants to accomplish things. New York State is the place to do it.”

Hochul won election to Congress in 2011, during a special election to replace Rep. Chris Lee who left office. She then ran for the seat in a 2012 election and lost to Collins by approx. 5,000 votes,  48.9 percent for Collins to 47.4 percent for Hochul.

Since then, in speeches and statements she has been highly critical of Collins, especially as he advances a part of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare that would keep Albany from passing the cost of Medicaid onto counties like Erie County.

"The Collins amendment would be devastating to New York State, and not just New York, but in his own district," she told WBEN in a recent interview. "This is like throwing them under the bus and then driving the bus over them... I just find this reprehensible."

"It's almost like he's trying to take revenge on the voters of Erie County who didn't support him when he wanted to be county executive for a second time," she said, in one of her more personal arguments against the Faso-Collins amendment. 

Her outspokenness had prompted speculation about a congressional run, but Hochul says she can do more by remaining Lt. Gov. 

"Hochul insisted the fact Cuomo has been mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate — which could leave her in charge should he leave early — has nothing to do with her thinking," The Daily News wrote.

Cuomo sidesteps questions about his political future and says he plans to seek a third term next year.   But he is increasingly putting forth his message on a state and national stage. 

 When  Cuomo announced his first-in-the-nation proposal to make state college tuition free for middle-class students, he stood next to Bernie Sanders. When Cuomo celebrated its approval, he was arm in arm with Hillary Clinton. 

And while he has not mentioned him often by name, Cuomo has launched a series of initiatives that contrast New York State's embrace of immigrant populations with the tough talk of Pres. Donald Trump.

“He’s running. It’s pretty clear,” said University of Maryland political scientist Robert Koulish, who said the second-term governor appears to be positioning himself as a hybrid: a centrist in the mold of Clinton who supports social policies championed by liberals like Sanders. “Maybe he’ll present himself as a progressive who gets things done.”

If he does announce his candidacy, Cuomo can expect more questions about Albany’s chronic corruption problem. Joe Percoco, a former aide and confidante whom Cuomo has likened to a brother, is expected to head to trial this fall in a federal bribery case involving Cuomo’s economic development programs. And Cuomo himself has been investigated by federal prosecutors but has not been accused of wrongdoing.
 

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