Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday shrugged off the increasing likelihood she will face multiple primary challengers next June as she runs for a full term in 2022, insisting she would not be "distracted" by the politics swirling around her.
"I've been an elected official for 27 years," Hochul said during a news conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm very confident in my ability to govern this state."
Hochul was elevated to the governor's office on Aug. 24 following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. She signaled plans almost immediately to run for a full, four-year term next year.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams this week became the first candidate out of the gate to launch an exploratory bid for the Democratic nomination. Attorney General Letitia James, meanwhile, raised eyebrows on Wednesday with a full-throated criticism of Cuomo and a defense of the report her office released detailing allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment by the former governor.
James, so far, has said she is focused on her job as attorney general, a post long seen as a springboard to the governor's office.
Additional Democratic candidates for governor next year could include Rep. Tom Suozzi and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Hochul, meanwhile, said Thursday she is focused herself on her own day job and getting New York "out of the clutches of COVID."
"All I'm going to do is my job. I don't have to have the time to be distracted by the political noise," she said. "Everybody is free to do what they want. I've got a job to do and that is my focus."