New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she supports Attorney General Letitia James' re-election after James suspended her campaign for governor Thursday, and said her focus will be on keeping Democrats in power at state and federal levels in the 2022 elections.
Hochul said that James called her Thursday morning and told her she intended to remain in her current position. James was viewed by many as Hochul's biggest threat to the Democratic nomination for governor.
"It has been a change in circumstances. However, I always always always run like an underdog. I'm a Buffalo Bills fan. I'm used to being an underdog," Hochul said. "And in my mind, I'm down and I work hard and that's been the hallmark of my successes, that no matter what a poll shows, no matter what the landscape looks like, that's why I've been successful. I take every election seriously."
Hochul said she has a lot of respect for James.
"This is a very bad day for Donald Trump and the NRA when we have, when we have Tish James, one of the finest attorney generals in the country, very focused on making sure that justice is done," Hochul said.
The Associated Press learned Thursday that James is seeking former President Donald Trump’s testimony in January in an ongoing investigation into his business practices.
"I look forward to having her on the ticket as we had into the November election together," Hochul said.
The governor said Democrats should heed the warning signs from November's election results when Republicans won the governorship in Virginia and came very close to unseating the Democratic governor of neighboring New Jersey, as well as winning several key positions in Long Island's Nassau County.
"It is also on my shoulders to pull it together and have unity in our party because we have to make sure that the Rpeublicans do not get a foothold anywhere among my colleagues who are running for office statewide," Hochul said. "I have to protect the senators, the Assembly members, and when I was in Washington, I said I'm also making sure that we can keep the House of Represenatives in Democratic hands. I served in the minority in Congress a decade ago when the Tea Party ascended to leadership. That was not a good time for our country and all we did was play defense trying to stop policies that would be horribly detrimental to the country and certainly to my district and the state of New York."
Hochul added that she believes the Republicans will also look at James' exit as not a good development for them. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor, told Capital Tonight several weeks ago he believed James would likely be his opponent in November.
James' intention to run again for her current seat has also shaken up the race for attorney general, with state Sen. Shelley Mayer already dropping her bid for the seat.