Sunday, December 28, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: An Invisible Friend for the Governor

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Nearly three weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo ended the only real guessing game surrounding his re-election campaign by picking former upstate Congresswoman Kathy Hochul to be his running mate. Since her speech at the state Democratic Convention on Long Island on May 22, there's been a new game surrounding the would-be lieutenant governor called "Where's Kathy?"

The woman who would be one Cuomo-beat from the governorship has essentially ducked one-on-one interviews from the press and – as far as I can tell – held just two campaign events since being anointed by the governor as "a person who knows New York's needs across the board."

Following her speech to delegates at last month's state Democratic convention on Long Island, Hochul didn't speak to any member of the political press corps and has largely remained under wraps ever since.

A Cuomo spokesman pointed out to me yesterday that Hochul appeared at a labor rally with the governor in the Buffalo area on the day after the convention – where a pumped-up union leader called Hochul a "chippy" and Hochul got a little carried away when talking about winning nine counties in the Buffalo area that Cuomo lost in 2008.

"We're not just going to win back all those counties, ok? I can't say ass,' she said, whispering the naughty word.

"We're going to kick butt in a way that we've never seen before."

Hochul also appeared downstate outside City Hall in Manhattan on May 31st – a Saturday when the press corps of Room 9 wasn't inhabiting the building. There, Hochul was talked up by a bevy of Democratic politicians as someone who is strong on women's issues.

“She will make sure women are at the table, and not just the kitchen table,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who worked with Hochul in her brief stint in Washington.

But while Hochul may want women at the table, she didn't want illegal immigrants behind the wheel – when then-Gov. Spitzer rolled out a program in 2007 to give driver's licenses to undocumented residents. This position has raised the antennae of some of the party's more liberal members.

And while she says she supports Gov. Cuomo's gun-control Safe Act, Hochul was endorsed by the NRA in her failed re-election bid in 2012.

It would be interesting to hear Hochul expound at length on the many issues facing the entire state – but it's unclear how much we'll be hearing from her between now and November. Being lieutenant governor is one of those jobs that's not important – until it really is. Just ask David Paterson.

Bob Hardt

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