BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul could win the congressional seat Chris Collins resigned on Monday. Hochul said she agrees—but she’s still not going to run.
“Could she win?,” WAMC’s Alan Chartock asked the governor.
“I think she could win any seat. She is just a great politician and official,” Cuomo answered. “She’s a rare combination.”
Following Collins’ resignation, the ball is now in Cuomo’s court to call a special election. He told Chartock the residents of the 27th District deserve representation in Congress.
“I would be inclined to fill the vacancy sooner, rather than later,” Cuomo said.
The governor said this November is too soon to call a special election, but added “2020 is a long time away.” He said federal assistance will be needed for major area projects, like the reimagining of the Buffalo Skyway
Chartock reminded Cuomo of Hochul’s unsuccessful reelection campaign in 2012 for the newly-redistricted 27th congressional seat.
“Well, she hasn’t won it in the past. You think she’ll win it, she could win it—[that] things have changed?” he asked.
“Oh yes, I think things have changed,” Cuomo responded. “And I think she could win it.”
Hochul responded to the governor’s comments shortly afterward at a press conference in Buffalo.
“I’m honored, I’m flattered,” she said. “I also believe I would win because I’m competitive and I know how to do this, but I also know that there’s a greater opportunity for me to serve more people as lieutenant governor.”
Hochul said her previous congressional service in the 26th district was a high honor, but confirmed that she will not be running for Collins’ seat. She also said she will work to elect whomever emerges as the Democratic candidate.
WBFO’s Omar Fetouh contributed to this report.