Emily’s list, the fundraising juggernaut dedicated to electing women to return to abortion rights, threw its support Thursday behind Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign for a full term as New York governor.
The group’s endorsement will open doors to deep-pocket donors and experienced campaign strategists across the country. But for Ms. Hochul, the first female governor of the state, it could prove even more important as an early seal of approval for women activists, donors and operatives as she attempts to freeze potential rivals and head to an unstable Democratic primary next year.
In its endorsement, Emily’s List cited Ms. Hochul of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the steps he has taken since he sat down in August to clean up a culture of intimidation and harassment that has flourished in Albany under his predecessor, Andrew M. Cuomo.
“Governor Hochul helped to lead New York into a moment of doubt and distrust for Albany,” said Laphonza Butler, the group’s president. “As governor, he has given priority to rebuilding trust between his administration and New Yorkers, and delivering results.”
The team’s endorsement time, known for making smart calculations about who it thinks might win, is remarkable. This is likely to make ripples through a large field of high-profile Democrats mulling campaigns, including the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, who will be the first Black woman elected governor of any state.
In support of Ms. Hochul before others decided whether to enter the race, the group appeared to simultaneously signal that he believed he was the most positioned candidate to win and do its part to help others not survive.
The endorsement stood in sharp contrast to many of New York’s most influential unions, campaign donors and other elected leaders, who seem to be holding back support until it becomes clearer if Ms. James and other Democrats – including Major Bill de Blasio, Representative Tom Suozzi or Jumaane Williams, the public advocate in New York City – decided to run.
The decision can be particularly annoying for Ms. James, who is generally viewed as Ms.’s most formidable potential opponent. Hochul and to whom the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations prompted Mr. Cuomo to resign. Emily’s List endorsed Ms. James for attorney general in 2018, citing him as a candidate who “always has the backbone of every New Yorker, especially women.”
However, the group also promoted Ms. Hochul in previous races for lieutenant governor and for a seat in Congress.
In many ways, Ms. Hochul is a natural candidate for Emily’s List to be backed. She has been a staunch supporter of abortion rights for decades, and achieved a historic first in a state that has resisted the rise of women in some leading offices.
Si Ms. Hochul, who is a Catholic, has made abortion rights a priority of his young administration. Then Texas last month began a ban on any abortion six weeks later, the governor declared New York a “safe haven” for women from the state. He also promised to implement New York’s 2019 Reproductive Health Act, including drawing up a bill of patient rights.
The endorsement is the latest signing that Ms. Hochul, the only Democrat to formally enter the race for governor, is moving quickly to gather resources and support in hopes of changing the face of the mainstream field.
In recent weeks, he has endorsements are locked from the Democratic Governors Association, the chairman of the New York State Democratic Party, and nearly two dozen other heads of party county committees. He hired a campaign manager and key consultants. And he set it a speed of fund increase to try to raise $ 10 million or more by the end of the year from many of the state’s largest political donations.
So far, the energetic approach, along with the performance of Ms. Hochul as governor, seems to be paying dividends to voters.
A Marist College poll released on Tuesday showed Ms. Hochul with a big blade to the head on his potential opponents if the election takes place today. But that could change if Ms. should formally enter the race. James or another candidate.