What to Know
- Public Advocate Jumaane Williams confirmed Tuesday that he has filed paperwork to potentially join the race to become governor of New York
- The New York City Democrat told NBC New York that he’ll spend the next month exploring whether to seek the party's nomination
- If Williams officially joins the race, he would be facing Hochul and potentially other familiar faces like Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams confirmed Tuesday that he has filed paperwork to potentially join the race to become governor of New York.
The New York City Democrat told NBC New York that he’ll spend the next month exploring whether to seek the party's nomination. If he does, the race will be a rematch against the state's 57th governor Kathy Hochul, who is the first woman to hold the seat.
In 2018, Gov. Hochul defeated Williams by less than seven points in a relatively close primary for lieutenant governor --- compared to Cynthia Nixon who lost the governor race to Andrew Cuomo by more than 30 points.
With former Gov. Cuomo embroiled in one scandal after another, from sexual harassment allegations by current and former staff members to his handling of the pandemic, Williams told New York Magazine that he aims to hold members of the Cuomo administration accountable for enabling the alleged misconduct "through silence."
"We have to really get rid of all the infrastructure that was there that allowed the environment that we have," Williams said in a Zoom interview on Tuesday.
If Williams officially joins the race, he would be facing Hochul and potentially other familiar faces like Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio reacted to the news of Williams' interest in the governor seat by appearing to reveal his own interest in serving the people across the state of New York.
"I want to serve the people of this city and this state. I want to continue working on the issues that I care about deeply," he said. He also stated that the news about Williams doesn't surprise him because the public advocate has shown interest in that before.
For Attorney General James, whose investigation into Cuomo's sexual harassment allegations led to his resignation, hasn't tipped her hand yet whether she's running for governor. She told New York Magazine by text that she considers Williams a younger brother and said, "I wish him luck."
Although James and de Blasio, who campaigned to become the Democratic party's nominee for president last year and finished near the bottom, will possibly become his future opponent, the 45-year-old former member of the New York City Council says he's not thinking about the competition right now.
"I'm not aiming to run against anyone at this moment in time. We're actually trying to run FOR something and we're trying to present a different kind of leadership style and a different kind of thought process," Williams said.
What Williams is trying to do is make a space for progressives in the Democratic primary, according to Fordham University political science professor Christina Greer.
"It's always great for New Yorkers, I would argue, that robust primary season is a great way to sort of tussle out all the policy positions from all the candidates," Greer said.
As for Gov. Hochul, she has already said she plans to run for governor next term and she has been making frequent stops in the city over the past month --- including Monday in the Bronx. Her team declined to comment Tuesday.