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Newsday endorses Kathy Hochul in Democratic primary

Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz, Lt. Gov.

Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Kevin Law, president of Long Island Association, meet in February in Hempstead. Credit: Howard Schnapp

There’s a strong argument to be made that the state of New York needs an independently elected rabble rouser — like the New York City public advocate — to stand up for the people. But that’s not the job description of lieutenant governor. And that’s the biggest reason Jumaane Williams, the Democratic candidate campaigning as gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon’s running mate, is wrong for the job.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul deserves a second nomination to the Democratic ticket.

Williams, a New York City councilman from Brooklyn, calls himself an “activist/elected official.” He’s quick to attack Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the prohibitive favorite to top the Democratic ticket. Thanks to state laws that have voters ballot separately for the offices in primaries and jointly in general elections, Cuomo and Williams could both win. That would mean voters who chose Cuomo in November would also be picking as his emergency replacement a man who disagrees with Cuomo’s policies and wants the job just to heckle the governor from proximity. In terms of good government and a succession plan, it makes no sense. Nor would it make political sense for Hochul to be on the Democratic line in November with Nixon.

Hochul has worked steadfastly for four years. Before that she was the Erie County clerk, and was elected to Congress for most of one term before redistricting took place. She is better qualified to be governor in a pinch.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor ought to run on one ticket in the primaries. And Democrats should pick Hochul on Thursday.

— The editorial board