NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Kathy Hochul’s bid to become New York’s next lieutenant governor has been endorsed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as she pushes back against a Democratic primary challenger who has questioned her liberal credentials.
De Blasio called Hochul a progressive who is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs as a Buffalo congresswoman.
“Kathy has been claimed to be an underdog many, many times, something I can personally relate to,” de Blasio said. “She’s been in a lot of tough political circumstances. She’s taken on a lot of tough fights. She’s not ever been afraid to challenge powerful forces.”
The mayor announced his endorsement Wednesday at a City Hall appearance where Hochul vowed to support liberal priorities such as a higher minimum wage and the Dream Act for young immigrants.
“For those of my 8.4 million fellow New York City residents who are looking for some direction in how they will vote next Tuesday, I’ll give you direction. Vote for Kathy Hochul,” de Blasio said.
Hochul is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pick to replace Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who isn’t seeking another term. She is facing Columbia University law professor Tim Wu in Tuesday’s primary.
Wu has questioned Hochul’s congressional record, saying her past views on guns and the environment don’t mesh with Democratic voters. She supports the right to bear arms.
Hochul defended her position on the Second Amendment, saying she wants to get guns off the streets, which is “not inconsistent with the sportsmen in my district who are Democrats, Working Family party members and Republicans who target shoot, who engage in hunting.
“I don’t hunt deer personally, but they have a right to do that in our state,” Hochul added.
Wu accused Hochul of trying to soften her image, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“There’s been a wild scramble this week trying to save the candidacy of my opponent, Kathy Hochul. She’s a sinking ship. They’re trying to patch the holes. They’re trying to cynically rebrand her as a progressive Democrat.” Wu said.
Hochul also defended her opposition to giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. She said she had fears that Hezbollah terrorists in Canada, which shares a border with New York state, would use the IDs to commit acts of terror.
Wu called that stance fear mongering.
There has been some speculation that Cuomo might dump Hochul as his running mate because if Wu wins the Tuesday primary, there would be Cuomo/Wu Democratic ticket, but three other minor party lines would say “Cuomo/Hochul.” By state law, those votes would not be combined.
But Hochul told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman on Tuesday that Cuomo has assured her he won’t replace her.
“‘Unequivocally’ is an understatement,” she said during an appearance in Brooklyn. “It is not going to happen.”
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