Kathy Hochul set to host fundraiser next week as she prepares to take over for Cuomo

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New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation at the New York State Capitol, in Albany, New York, U.S., August 11, 2021.

Cindy Schultz | Reuters

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is planning to host an in-person fundraising event next week in her hometown of Buffalo as she gears up to run for governor in 2022, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hochul is set to lead the event Wednesday, days before she takes over for Andrew Cuomo, who announced his resignation Tuesday over myriad sexual harassment claims that have landed him in hot water with state lawmakers and prosecutors. He said his resignation would be effective in two weeks.

Top tickets are expected to go for between $2,500 and $5,000, these people said. There likely will be a separate grassroots donor event that day, as well, one of the people said.

The Hochul fundraising event will also celebrate her birthday, these people said. Hochul holds a fundraiser for her birthday every year, one of the people added.

These people declined to be named in order to speak freely about an event that does not appear to be on Hochul’s public calendar.

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This event has higher stakes than past fundraisers. It could help set the tone for Hochul’s 2022 campaign for governor, during which she could face tough competition from several fellow prominent Democrats.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi have not ruled out a run for the governor’s mansion. State Attorney General Letitia James, whose report on the Cuomo sexual harassment allegations led to the governor’s resignation, is considered a potential top contender for the job.

Hochul will be the state’s first female governor.

One of the people said that next week’s fundraiser was initially set to take place on Hochul’s property in Buffalo, but that it had to be moved given the increased interest in her. The fundraiser could also be postponed to another date, after she settles into the governor job.

Though the event was set up before Cuomo’s move to resign and declare Hochul the next chief executive of the state, the money that will be raised at the event will end up going into her gubernatorial campaign account. State records show that Hochul’s lieutenant governor reelection campaign raised just over $525,000 in the first half of the year and has just over $1.7 million on hand.

Hochul told NBC’s “TODAY” that she’s moving ahead with running for governor next year.

“I fully expect to. I’ve prepared for this,” Hochul said when asked whether she will run. 

Those expected to attend next week’s fundraiser are many of Hochul’s most loyal supporters, these people said.

“These are people that have been with her since the town board. They have been her supporters and friends for a long time,” a person with direct knowledge of the gathering told CNBC.

Hochul started receiving calls from donors just after James released the report that found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing. Some of the donors who spoke with Hochul at the time to encourage her to run for governor had previously supported Cuomo.

Many of Cuomo’s other top financiers are starting to privately acknowledge that they will back Hochul in 2022, said a person familiar with the conversations.

A spokesman for Hochul did not respond to repeated requests for comment.





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