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N.Y. Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs Endorses Kathy Hochul For Governor In Next Year's Race

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The election for the next governor of New York is more than a year away, but the drama is building.

New York state Democratic party Chairman Jay Jacobs endorsed Kathy Hochul for re-election, and called on other gubernatorial wannabes to stand down for the good of the party.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports, it would be an understatement to say that there are a number of Democrats with their noses out of joint Monday - people who think that they, not Kathy Hochul, should be running the state.

So far, Kramer has not found anyone willing to take their hat out of the ring.

"We have a governor who has proved she can do the job with distinction," Jacobs said. "And we have a governor who, by any measure, has earned our support. Accordingly, it is my pleasure to endorse Governor Kathy Hochul."

Jacobs threw a Molotov cocktail into the middle of the Democratic primary for governor, leaving a lot of unhappy campers among the ranks of those with upwardly mobile ambitions.

"We're now going to open it up to on-topic questions only," laughed Attorney General Letitia James at a separate event.

James, who has been dropping hints for weeks about seeking the state's top job, tried to sidestep the issue as she kicked off a thinly-veiled effort to boost her image with a statewide tour to trumpet the $1.5 billion she has recovered from big pharma to combat the opioid crisis.

Kramer didn't buy into the on-topic only edict.

"Marcia, we're here today to talk about the opioid crisis," James said. "I'm not talking about politics, I'm talking about lives."

"Tish, are you going to let Jay Jacobs keep you out of the race?" Kramer asked.

"Thank you," James said.

Kramer took that as an indication the popular attorney general is still in the hunt, as is Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made it clear he'd like to see a robust primary.

"That's part of the Democratic process, and I think that's healthy because it helps us all to have the kind of debate we need on where this city, and where this state, are going in the future," de Blasio said. "I look forward to being a part of that discussion."

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has an official gubernatorial exploratory committee, was also critical.

"Jay Jacobs' efforts to shield the current power brokers and power structures from a challenge aren't remotely surprising," Williams said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Hochul said she was happy to have Jacobs' support, but she is focusing on her job.

"I am all consumed with protecting the state, and that's going to be my laser focus. I've said from the beginning I'm direct, I'm decisive, and I'm not distracted," Hochul said.

One person who could be a distraction is former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who coincidentally sent an email to his donors and supports charging that the state is in a "dangerous moment," and raising speculation about his future in politics.


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