New York had a decade of Andrew Cuomo. And we’re just getting used to Kathy Hochul. Who will voters choose to lead the state next?
Cuomo’s replacement, his lieutenant governor, Hochul, hopes to turn her short stint as chief executive into a proper four-year term via the 2022 election.
Her original lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, was indicted by federal prosecutors and resigned in mid-April. Due to election law timing, he was stuck on the ballot with Hochul until Albany lawmakers passed a bill in early May that allowed him to be removed.
She chose a replacement soon after: Hudson Valley Rep. Antonio Delgado.
She is also facing pushback from her own party as they stymie her political agenda in Albany.
And she will be far from the only Democrat vying for the job, even after her top opponent — Attorney General Letitia James, whose office’s investigation led to Cuomo’s resignation — suspended her campaign Dec. 9.
Cuomo himself has been dropping major hints that he may try to return to public office. And because he was never impeached, he is legally allowed to run for governor again.
Even before Cuomo resigned this August, several of his fellow party members said they were considering a run, including city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) is also running.
Meanwhile, Republicans have been suiting up for a fight for months, if not years, and are fundraising and mobilizing. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino are among the GOP candidates who have filed 2022 campaigns with the state, records show.
Officially, more than a dozen campaigns have registered with the state Board of Elections to fundraise towards a run for governor in 2022. Other contenders, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, have already bowed out.
To help you parse who’s in and who’s out, here’s a guide on the 2022 gubernatorial candidates. as we know them so far in alphabetical order. We’ll keep updating this piece as the campaign moves along:
- Kathy Hochul: She will serve as New York’s governor through the 2022 election, at least until Jan. 1, 2023. Her latest role in government, becoming the first woman to hold the state’s top job, is the pinnacle of years working in public service, mostly in Western New York. As THE CITY reported in this piece about her career, Hochul served as Erie County clerk, then briefly represented Buffalo in Congress in 2011 after winning a special election. She ran with Cuomo for lieutenant governor in 2014 and 2018, though it was recently revealed that Cuomo had wanted to kick her off the 2022 ticket. She launched her election bid as she took office to replace Cuomo, and had raised more than $21 million as of January 2022.
- Paul Nichols: Nichols is a Jamaica, Queens-based attorney who most recently served as chief counsel for State Sen. Leroy Comrie. Nichols has worked in state government for more than a decade, he told THE CITY. He is running on a platform promoting affordable housing, easing the wealth gap and incentivizing New Yorkers to move to other parts of the state “to ease the concentration of population within downstate,” his campaign site says.
- Tom Suozzi: Suozzi has represented parts of Queens and the North Shore of Long Island since 2017 in the House. Previous to that, he served as Nassau County executive from 2002 to 2009 and began his career in politics as mayor of Glen Cove, L.I. Suozzi announced his candidacy in late November, telling Newsday he will campaign as a “common-sense Democrat.” He chose to run over an opportunity to become deputy mayor under Eric Adams, a friend and ally for years. In mid-February, Suozzi revealed his running mate is Diana Reyna, former deputy borough president under Adams and a former City Council member from Brooklyn.
- Jumaane Williams: As New York City’s public advocate, he’s spoken about a run for governor for months. Williams announced in late September that he was forming an exploratory committee for a potential race. In November, he announced his gubernatorial campaign. Williams has served as public advocate since 2019. Previous to that, he served as City Council member for Flatbush, Brooklyn between 2010 and 2019. He ran and lost to Hochul in his 2018 bid for Lieutenant Governor.
Republican hopefuls have been more proactive in launching runs. Among them:
- Rob Astorino: He served as county executive in Westchester between 2010 and 2017 and got his professional start in talk radio and television. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, garnering 40% of the vote against Cuomo and then-lieutenant Hochul, who together won with 54%. Astorino registered his 2022 campaign with the state BOE in May, records show.
- Mike Carpinelli: He currently serves as sheriff of Lewis County and has spent his career in law enforcement in Kingston and Rochester. He is “President Trump’s favorite sheriff,” his campaign website reads, and has spoken out against mask mandates and New York’s gun control laws. He launched his campaign in August 2020, state BOE records show.
- Derrick Gibson: He’s a former construction and automotive business owner from Forest Hills, Queens, who has turned to podcasting and political activism. Gibson calls himself a “true conservative” who was “on the front lines for President Donald Trump at all the ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies,” his campaign site reads. The Daily Beast has reported Gibson invited a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys onto his podcast this summer. He registered his 2022 campaign with the state in February 2020.
- Andrew Giuliani: The son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is a golfer turned Trump administration official who later became a television pundit for Newsmax. He launched his campaign in May of this year, BOE records show. Despite his famous surname, Giuliani’s chances to win the election are long: In a straw poll this summer, he garnered no votes from state Republican leadership.
- Harry Wilson: Wilson is a former hedge fund executive who “retired” at age 36 before joining the Obama administration’s auto industry task force, which helped reorganize General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for state comptroller, then founded a company that specializes in corporate restructuring. He was raised upstate, but now lives in Westchester County with his family. In announcing his campaign, he said he would contribute $12 million of his own money to the effort.
- Lee Zeldin: He’s the current Congressional representative for eastern Long Island, a former state senator and member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Zeldin has long been an ally of Donald Trump and was one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results. Zeldin is the money leader among the GOP candidates, with $3.2 million on hand as of July, the latest campaign finance records show. He also has the early backing of GOP county leaders in the state and is their “presumed nominee,” POLITICO New York reported. He launched his campaign committee in April of this year, BOE records show.
Third Party Hopefuls
- Howie Hawkins: The Green Party leader is once again running for governor after trying three times before. The Syracuse politician has run for public office at least 25 times in his career, according to Syracuse.com.
- Larry Sharpe: The libertarian businessman and former Marine is trying again for governor after a previous run in 2018. He registered his campaign with the state BOE in March 2022.
The Big Maybe
Cuomo himself is not barred from running for his old job again. Without being impeached, he is still allowed to hold office in New York State — and he left office with about $18 million in an active campaign account.
In early 2022, Cuomo began making public appearances again, and released television ads addressing the allegations against him while touting his accomplishments.
He told a church congregation in Brooklyn in early March, “God isn’t finished with me yet.” Less than a week later, he told reporters, “I am open to all options.”
Several other people have started campaign committees registered with the state, records show, but little could be found about their campaigns or platforms. They are: Nicolae Albert Bunea, Joseph Anderson, Elaine Bailey, John Jay Hathaway, Abbey S. Laurel-Smith, Tiwana Monique Lewis, Dr. Kris Alan Lord, Negrito Paul Noel, Muhammad Saleh and Gregory Alan Vernon.
Don’t forget, in New York, candidates for lieutenant governor can run in the primary, and win, independently from a gubernatorial running mate. That means people on separate tickets could end up serving together, as it happened in 1982 with Mario Cuomo, who became governor, and Alfred DelBello, who ran for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial candidate Ed Koch, the mayor of New York City at the time.
This year, since former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin resigned after his indictment, Gov. Hochul appointed a new deputy and running mate, Rep. Antonio Delgado from the Hudson Valley. Competitors for the seat are hoping that the crisis has made the Hochul ticket vulnerable enough to eek out a win.
As of May 2022, there are at least five lieutenant governor candidates, according to state BOE records:
- Ana María Archila, activist with Make the Road, is running with Jumaane Williams.
- Antonio Delgado, Congressional representative from the Hudson Valley, is running with Hochul.
- Alison Esposito, an NYPD Deputy Inspector, is running with Lee Zeldin.
- Quanda Francis, former mayoral candidate and tech entrepreneur, is running independently.
- Diana Reyna, former deputy borough president in Brooklyn, is running with Tom Suozzi.
Read our guide on the lieutenant governor race here.