A Win for Governor Hochul is a Win for Upstate New Yorkers


Gov. Hochul offers a change in perspective from city-based governors. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Peter McGowan, Contributing Writer

This year’s gubernatorial election in New York has the potential to make history in many ways. Sitting Governor Kathleen Hochul, a democrat, and challenger Republican Lee Zeldin are going head to head. New York will end up with a memorable election either way, with voters either formally electing their first female governor, since Hochul inherited the job after Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, or their first Republican in years since George Pataki in 2006. 

Thus far, Hochul’s lead is large but not insurmountable for Zeldin, with Hochul sitting at 14 points ahead, according to The Siena College Research Institute. Of course, nearly anything can happen in politics. Zeldin could stage a comeback, especially considering some negative narratives surrounding President Biden and the Democratic Party. Still, I am almost certain that Hochul will retain her position in November. 

Being a solidly blue state, two issues on the forefront of New York voters’ minds tend to be gun control and women’s reproductive health; these are issues that have galvanized the Democratic base nationwide. The issue of gun control has taken on a greater meaning in New York since the horrific shooting at a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., Governor Hochul’s hometown. 

It is undeniable that Hochul’s views on these issues better align with the views of a majority of Democrat voters, especially compared to Zeldin. Hochul’s views are closer to the majority of New Yorkers in general, considering the Democratic Party’s clear electoral advantage. The incumbent has shown support for abortion rights in New York. Hochul also has a desire to further strengthen New York’s already strict gun policies

As if Hochul’s lead wasn’t clear enough,  Zeldin has the disadvantage of being closely associated with former President Donald Trump, having just hosted him at a recent fundraiser. At the fundraiser, Trump even said that Zeldin helped him outlast “impeachment hoax number one and impeachment hoax number two and a lot of scams,” according to Ewan Palmer of Newsweek. An association with Trump in a historically blue state does not bode well for Zeldin. 

In a state where 60% of the population voted for President Biden against Trump, an association with the former president is not the wisest choice. Alignment with Trump’s policies is also detrimental to his campaign run. Considering Trump’s lies about the election and the subsequent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, Zeldin’s continued support surely proves he is a man who is a danger to our democracy and our constitution. As a New Yorker, I do not believe these are the values we should endorse as a state. 

Hailing from the Buffalo area, Hochul also has the opportunity to fulfill a much-needed change in New York State politics. For the first time in generations, our state has a true upstate governor, bringing a fresh perspective to the Governor’s mansion and a voice for my own home region, which often feels ignored in the shadow of the New York City metropolitan area. 

Hochul understands the unique challenges and concerns of upstate New Yorkers better than a New York City politician ever could, and this is a valuable perspective after a long line of downstate governors. Having someone in Albany who is actually from upstate New York is important and a welcomed change from upstate New Yorkers. 

There is little doubt in my mind that Hochul is the right choice for Governor of the State of New York. Since the resignation of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Hochul has proven to be a steady leader, guiding New York State with an administration that has proven to be a stark contrast to Cuomo’s in terms of both integrity and dignity. She has guided New York through a successful pandemic recovery and has been there for victims of gun violence when they needed support the most.  Hochul will not embrace the dangerous politics of Trump, as  Zeldin has so proudly done. Hopefully, Hochul will serve another successful term as New York’s 57th Governor following the election in November. 

Peter McGowan, FCRH ’24, is a political science major from Rochester, N.Y.