By John Celock
In an effort to fight back against growing opposition to her past record on guns and immigration, Democratic New York lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul is touting her progressive credentials.
Hochul, who is facing off in a Sept. 9 primary against Columbia University law professor Timothy Wu, used a video released Thursday by the state Democratic Party to fight growing support for Wu. Hochul, a former congresswoman from the state’s most Republican district, is the hand picked running mate of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), but must win the primary to appear on the November ticket with Cuomo. Wu is the running mate of Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, who is challenging Cuomo.
“Despite the politics of my district I never backed down from our core Democratic values,” Hochul said in the video, defending a record that Wu and his allies say is too conservative for New York.
Hochul has been under fire for her 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association and her opposition as Erie County clerk to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Hochul used the video to tout her support for Cuomo’s gun control law, along with in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants and a women’s agenda that includes strengthening the state’s abortion laws.
In the video, Hochul cites being a fan of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and uses a quote from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), a progressive hero. She notes her work as a U.S. Senate staffer on citizenship and campaign finance reform issues. She also notes her work as a councilwoman in Hamburg to stop big box stores, specifically naming Walmart.
Hochul rocketed to national fame from her 2011 special election to Congress, where she beat Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-Clarence) based on her opposition to Medicare funding cuts proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). She notes that she lost her 2012 reelection to U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R) because she backed Obamacare.
“I campaigned hard to fight the Paul Ryan/Tea Party budget,” she said.
Wu and progressives have fought Hochul’s past record and Wu has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women and The New York Times in his bid. A Wu victory in the little watched race would saddle Cuomo with a running mate he did not pick. Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy (D) is not seeking reelection.
Hochul is Cuomo’s running mate on the Independence, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines. If Wu wins, Hochul would either need to move out of the state or run for a judgeship for Wu to replace her on those lines. If not, the three other lines would not count towards the total vote for a Democratic Cuomo/Wu ticket.
New York Republicans have nominated Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino for governor and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss for lieutenant governor.