Dems reportedly in panic mode, throw money at Hochul in last-ditch effort to save governor’s race

Democrats and their allies are scrambling, pouring millions of dollars into late-stage ads to keep a Democrat in the New York governor’s mansion as polls show the GOP challenger too close for comfort.

“With just 12 days until Election Day, Democrats and their allies are mounting a frenzied push to keep [Gov. Kathy] Hochul in office, pouring millions of dollars into last-minute ads and staging a whirlwind of campaign rallies to energize their base amid concerns that their typically reliable bedrock of Black and Latino voters might not turn out,” the New York Times reported Thursday. “Labor unions have gone into overdrive, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television and radio ads to cajole those voters to turn up for Ms. Hochul.”

With those in her own party turning against her, Hochul has been forced to seek help from her adversaries. Progressive lawmakers and the left-leaning Working Families Party, whom she ridiculed during the lead-up to the Democratic primary in June, called an “emergency all-hands-on-deck meeting” to rally support for the floundering candidate.

The WFP warned in an email to its leadership on Monday that “depressed progressive turnout could have disastrous consequences for WFP-endorsed down-ballot candidates and the party’s ballot line and future.”

“I know that some of us have deep policy disagreements with Kathy Hochul — that’s why we endorsed Jumaane [Williams] in the primary — but a Zeldin administration would be entirely destructive to our agenda,” Sochie Nnaemeka wrote.

Democrats are pulling out all the stops. Hochul is set to campaign with Representative Hakeem Jeffries, whose Brooklyn district provides crucial votes for the Democratic base, and with Mayor Eric Adams in southeast Queens, another Democratic hotspot. Hillary Clinton is reportedly scheduled to attend a “Women’s Rally” for Hochul at Barnard College next week.

“Recent public polls show Mr. Zeldin, a Republican congressman from Long Island, drawing closer to Ms. Hochul, and during a head-to-head debate on Tuesday, Mr. Zeldin repeatedly sought to appeal to New Yorkers disenchanted with the economy or fearful of crime,” the New York Times reported.

Democratic efforts are centered in New York City where nearly one-third of all ballots are cast in the state. Strategists believe Hochul can fend off Zeldin if the liberal voters of NYC turn out in favor of the governor.

“The more Hochul gets out the vote in New York City, the more wiggle room she has with swing voters in the Hudson Valley, in Long Island, and the Buffalo suburbs,” said Alyssa Cass, a Democratic political strategist who has worked in some of the state’s marquee congressional races this year.

Dems “have questioned whether Ms. Hochul, who hails from western New York, has done enough to excite minority voters in the city,” and whether her out-of-state consultants’ non-traditional tactics will pay off in the end, worrying that Hochul “may have relied too much on the prestige of the governor’s office and not enough on retail politics.”

Hochul leads by 4-11 points in most polls but Democrats’ response to the narrowing gap shows their very real concern.

A lack of lawn signs in comparison to Zeldin, people’s inability to pronounce Hochul’s last name, and her campaign’s delay in making the rounds of black churches are all concerns for the Democratic Party.

“Mobilizing and activating African American voters, the backbone of the party in New York and nationally, is crucial these next 10 days,” said Neal Kwatra, a Democratic consultant. “These voters, especially downstate, must be engaged and motivated if you’re going to win statewide as a Democrat.”

Concern over voter engagement has driven several super PACs to open their wallets. The American Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers, representing 600,000 teachers in New York, committed $500,000 each to the Progress NYS super PAC, to finance a TV and online ad campaign. The Hotel and Gaming Trades Council committed $250,000 to purchase ads on Spanish-Broadcast channels.

“Rather than focus on crime or abortion, one 30-second spot homes in on the economy, touting Ms. Hochul’s upbringing in a union household and her commitment to helping working-class families,” the New York Times reported. “A voice-over in Spanish tells viewers that Ms. Hochul, who is white and of Irish descent, is ‘one of us.'”

The Empire State Forward super PAC is expecting $400,000 from several labor unions to purchase public safety and racial justice radio ads targeting black and Caribbean voters.

“Making sure we turn out the base is going to be particularly important,” said Candis Tolliver, political director for 32BJ SEIU, a building service workers union. “We’re realizing there is some apathy among voters and a fear that folks are staying home, and so we want to remind people not to stay home, and what’s at stake in this election.”

As Democrats are scrambling, pouring millions into Hochul, Zeldin and running mate Alison Esposito, lieutenant governor, are in the midst of a 25-stop, two-week “Get Out the Vote Bus Tour.”


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