New York’s Governor Race: A Guide to the Democratic Candidates

By Ria Dangayach

Incumbent gubernatorial candidate, Kathy Hochul. (Hans Pennick / AP)

The current governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, assumed office just nine months ago, following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. However, it is already time to elect a new governor or re-elect Hochul. Voters will cast their votes on June 28th, 2022 during the primary election, and on November 8th, 2022, the general election. There are currently four individuals running in the Democratic primary: Kathy Hochul, Paul Nichols, Tom Suozzi, and Jumaane Williams. The open race for the chief of the New York State Government sets the stage for competition.


Kathy Hochul currently holds the position of being the first female governor of New York. She labels herself as an “independent Democrat.” Hochul began her career in public service on her local Town Board for about a decade until 2007, when she was elected to the Erie County Clerk, a town outside of Boston. More recently, she served in statewide office as Lieutenant Governor. Hochul is a reliable supporter of women’s rights, particularly reproductive rights, for which she recently dedicated $35 million in state money. As governor, Hochul has focused on vaccine campaigns and public safety measures against COVID-19, criminal justice reform, and infrastructure improvements in New York’s cities.


Paul Nichols is a native New Yorker; he has lived and worked in the city his entire life. He has worked in government, for not-for-profit organizations, and in his local church for decades. Nichols describes his “5 smooth stones”, or his primary policy focuses to be: affordable housing, division of economic health, war on the wealth gap, spread out New York, and establishing a year of jubilee commission. Nichols’ campaign is centered around being a “people’s governor,” as he wants the head of state to be connected with ordinary New Yorkers.


Tom Suozzi considers himself to be a “common-sense Democrat” and is a moderate voice compared to some of his opponents. He is currently a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee of the House of Representatives. He started his career by being elected mayor of Glen Cove in 1993 and then proceeding to serve as Nassau County Executive in the 2000s. As reported by Sarah Taddeo in Democrat and Chronicle, if elected as governor, Suozzi’s priorities would include lowering taxes, reducing crime, mitigating harmful changes to the environment, and getting the economy in good shape after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Jumaane Williams is of Grenadian heritage and grew up in Brooklyn. Williams began his career as an elected activist official by serving on the City Council for a decade, and he helped pass over 70 bills. He particularly pushed legislation and programs that would curb NYC’s use of stop-and-frisk policies and reduce gun violence using community-centered approaches. Then in 2018, Williams ran for lieutenant governor but lost by a slim margin. As of recently, Williams is Public Advocate, the second-highest ranking office in New York City. According to Wiliams’ campaign website, his aim is to “bring transformational change to fix Albany’s broken infrastructure and create transformational change that renews New York.”