NEW YORK — The governor’s race was always going to be a hard-fought battle this year, but the likelihood thathas given both sides new ammunition for the fall campaign.
Gov. Kathy Hochul called a news conference Tuesday and to put the taint of former running mate in the rearview mirror, but before she got to that she said, “I first want to address an issue that is deeply, deeply disturbing.”
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, the governor addressed an issue that could have an even greater effect on her re-election campaign, the likelihood that the high court will overturn Roe v. Wade. The governor made it clear that she and her running mate will adamantly uphold the rights of women to get abortions in New York.
“Let me be clear: we’re not playing defense, we’re playing offense,” Hochul said. “My message to those who would deny this fundamental right, basic right: you don’t want to mess with us.”
And since her two Democratic primary opponents, Tom Suozzi and Jumaane Williams, also support a women’s right to choose, it was clear she was sending a message to her GOP opponents — nominee Lee Zeldin and his primary challengers, Andrew Giuliani and Rob Astorino, who are ardently pro-life.
Democrats and Republicans immediately took up the battle.
“The Republicans are going to have to defend their record on having voted anti-choice. They’re also going to have to defend their records on having supported President Trump, the person who flipped the Supreme Court by appointing anti-choice judges. They own that,” said Christine Quinn, the Democratic Party Executive Committee chair.
Republican consultant Jessica Proud says that’s just fear mongering, because New York has a strong reproductive rights law that legalizes abortions
“I think when voters go to the polling booth in November, they are going to be voting on the issues that matter to them — inflation, skyrocketing gas prices, crime, all the issues that Democrats have failed miserably on,” Proud said.
Political expert David Birdsell says the gubernatorial candidates from both parties will try to capitalize on the issue, but, “If you’re a Democrat right now looking at this matchup you have to like the way it looks, like it might be trending, although anything can happen between now and November.”
The Democrats are going to try to argue that a Republican governor could try to undo the state’s abortion laws. Difficult as that would be if the Legislature remains Democratic, it could still become an issue.
Officials are also waiting to see whether the gubernatorial primary will still be held on June 28 or be moved to August with the Congressional and state Senate races.