New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, left, Gov. Kathy...

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, left, Gov. Kathy Hochul, center, and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) prepare to face off during a governor primary debate at the studios of WCBS2-TV on June 7 in Manhattan. Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Heading into their second debate, Gov. Kathy Hochul is touting a new endorsement while Rep. Tom Suozzi is contending that California’s recent elections show Democrats should get behind his anti-crime campaign theme.

Hochul, Suozzi and Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate, are set to square off at 7 p.m. Thursday in a debate hosted by WNBC, Telemundo 47 and the Times Union of Albany.

Thursday’s debate comes one day after Hochul received the endorsement of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

It also comes a week after voters in California recalled a progressive district attorney in San Francisco and backed a law-and-order Democrat in a Los Angeles mayoral primary.

Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has said crime is his top issue, especially tightening the bail law to allow judges discretion to detain defendants considered dangerous. He said the California results show “if the Democrats want to win in November … my agenda is the way to go.”

“It’s a clear choice. It’s as clear as day,” Suozzi said.

But analysts don’t all see it that clearly.

They said San Franciscans' recall of progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin was more about the office of district attorney than governor. They also said crime might be a bigger issue in the general election in New York than in a Democratic primary.

And they noted that if California shows a backlash against progressive ideas, Williams — not Hochul — is considered the most liberal in the New York field.

“If the results in the San Francisco recall are accurate in showing a shift of Democratic voters toward the middle on issues such as crime, then it is hard to see how that would hurt the incumbent,” Lawrence Levy, executive dean of suburban studies at Hofstra University, said of Hochul. “She’s not a pure progressive.”

“I think there is going to be an impact, but, as far as the primary is concerned, I don’t see it,” Doug Muzzio, a Baruch College political scientist, said of the California results.

Suozzi, who says he’s the lone candidate with a comprehensive anti-crime plan, sparred with Hochul and Williams over the issue during their first debate last week.

Hochul countered Suozzi’s arguments on bail by noting she recently signed a new law that allows judges to consider a defendant’s history and seriousness of the crime in determining whether to impose bail. She called that a more objective measure than a subjective weighing of person’s “dangerousness.”

Williams, running to the political left of his rivals, said Hochul’s legislation would do little to reduce street crime. He also said the governor should have invested more state funds in mental health and social services and job training.

Why do police get unlimited overtime pay but mental health and social workers don’t, Williams asked at one point during the first debate.

Williams and Suozzi also criticized Hochul for being backed by the NRA and opposing gun control laws during her one term as a member of Congress, a decade ago. Hochul countered she’s evolved on the issue and said more politicians need to. She recently backed and signed legislation to raise the purchasing age on semi-automatic rifles to 21 and moved to possibly begin microstamping of ammunition to help police trace gun crimes.

Adams said Hochul, the Buffalo Democrat who became governor in August when Andrew M. Cuomo resigned, deserved a full term in Albany. He called Hochul someone who can “get stuff done in the state of New York.”

The endorsement perhaps deals a blow to Suozzi, who has been courting some of the same centrist voters who carried Adams to victory in last year’s city elections.

Suozzi has frequently aligned himself with Adams, especially on crime issues.

Editor's note -- An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed one of the sponsors.

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