Emily’s List, the fundraising juggernaut dedicated to electing women who support abortion rights, plans to support Gov. Kathy Hochul’s campaign for a full term as governor of New York on Thursday. .
The group’s approval opens the doors to deep-pocketed donors and seasoned campaign strategists across the country. But for Ms Hochul, the state’s first female governor, it may prove more valuable as a first seal of approval for activists, donors and agents as she attempts to freeze potential rivals and avoid a boisterous Democratic primary next year.
In her endorsement, Emily’s List planned to cite Ms Hochul’s handling of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the steps she has taken since taking office in August to clean up a culture of bullying and harassment. who flourished in Albany under his predecessor, Andrew M. Cuomo.
“Governor Hochul stepped in to lead New York at a time of skepticism and mistrust of Albany,” said Laphonza Butler, chairman of the group. “As governor, she has made it a priority to restore trust between her administration and New Yorkers, and to get results.”
The timing of approval by the group, known for making astute calculations on who they think can win, was remarkable. He’s likely to make waves in the broad arena of top-tier Democratic campaigning campaigning, including state attorney general Letitia James, who would be the first black woman to be elected governor of any state.
By supporting Ms Hochul before others decide to participate in the race, the group appeared to simultaneously signal that they believe she is the best candidate to win and do her part to help keep others out of the way. race.
The approval was in stark contrast to many of New York’s most influential unions, campaign donors and other elected leaders, who appear to be withholding their support until it becomes clearer whether Ms James and other Democrats – including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tom Suozzi or Jumaane Williams, the New York public attorney, decides to run.
The decision can be particularly scathing for Ms James, who is widely viewed as Ms Hochul’s most formidable potential adversary and whose investigation into the sexual harassment allegations prompted Mr Cuomo to resign. Emily’s List supported Ms James’ campaign for attorney general in 2018, portraying her as a candidate who “has always had the backs of all New Yorkers, especially women.”
However, the group has also supported Ms Hochul in previous races for lieutenant governor and for a seat in Congress.
In many ways, Ms. Hochul is a natural candidate for Emily’s list to support. She has been a staunch supporter of abortion rights for decades and achieved a historic first in a state that has resisted the elevation of women to certain high-level positions.
Ms. Hochul, who is Catholic, has made abortion rights a priority in her young administration. After Texas instituted a six-week abortion ban last month, the governor declared New York City a “safe harbor” for women in the state. She also pledged to implement the New York Reproductive Health Act of 2019, including drafting a Patient Bill of Rights.
The approval is the latest sign that Ms Hochul, the only Democrat to officially enter the gubernatorial race, is moving swiftly to amass resources and support in hopes of changing the form of the primary field.
In recent weeks, she has blocked approvals from the Democratic Governors Association, the chairman of the New York State Democratic Party and nearly two dozen other party county committee leaders. She hired a campaign manager and key consultants. And she’s set up a breakneck fundraising pace to try and raise $ 10 million or more by the end of the year from many of the state’s biggest political donors.
So far, the demanding approach, coupled with Ms Hochul’s performance as governor, appears to be paying off with voters.
A Marist College poll released Tuesday showed Ms Hochul had a considerable advantage over potential opponents if the elections were to take place today. But that could change if Ms James or another candidate officially enters the race.