A Brooklyn Democratic club hosted a forum on the race for governor Wednesday, and while Andrew Cuomo was not in attendance, his candidate for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, was, along with one of his political opponents. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
The meeting between the two rivals was brief. Zephyr Teachout and Kathy Hochul did not share the stage at the candidate forum sponsored by the New Kings Democrats.
The club had invited Teachout and Governor Andrew Cuomo, but Cuomo sent a surrogate - Hochul, his candidate for lieutenant governor.
"Well, I'm the one who has to get my name out there," Hochul said. "Certainly, he's got high-name recognition, and he's doing a lot of governing. I see him in upstate quite a bit among some phenomenal announcements about new projects, new jobs that are coming."
For the last two weeks, Cuomo has been under fire for his handling of the Moreland Commission. Cuomo created the anti-corruption commission last year, then abruptly shut it down before its work was through. That is now under investigation by federal prosecutors.
Teachout said she has noticed a change in the dynamic of the governor's race.
"Something has dramatically changed in the last 10 days, really," she said. "The first two days, the entire focus was on Cuomo and his own responses, and then people started looking around, and what we see is that they're very excited about having a serious alternative in the Democratic primary."
Hochul declined to discuss the Moreland controversy.
"You know, I think the governor has given some statements on that, and I've spoken before, so we're good on that," she said.
The New Kings Democrats sprouted up as a counter to the Democratic machine in Brooklyn, once headed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who resigned last year over allegations of sexual harassment.
"We started New Kings Democrats to reform the Democratic Party in Brooklyn, and we're interested in also reform on a statewide level," said Matthew Cowherd of the New Kings Democrats.
On Thursday, Teachout will be in court. The Cuomo campaign is challenging her residency and trying to knock her off the ballot. In order to run for governor in New York State, a candidate must have lived here for five years prior to Election Day, and according to the Cuomo team, Teachout does not meet that requirement.