Gov. Kathy Hochul continued to defend embattled state Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs amid calls for him to step down after disappointing election results in a handful of key U.S. House races in New York.
But Hochul also on Monday during a stop in Buffalo signaled she wants to unify the occasionally fractious Democratic Party in New York going forward.
"I think this is a great opportunity for us to rebuild," Hochul said. "I've been governor for just over a year now, but now it's a chance for us to step back and make sure the Democratic Party is the powerhouse that it should be."
Hochul last week won a full term, defeating Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in the closest gubernatorial election in New York since 1994. Democrats also carried all statewide races and retained large majorities in the state Senate and Assembly.
But on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, Republicans were able to flip Democratic-held congressional districts. Jacobs, who was appointed party chairman initially under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has become an ally for Hochul.
The former Democratic chairman in Nassau County, Jacobs has faced calls for his ouster in the passed, but has not come close to being toppled by his critics during leadership votes.
Hochul, meanwhile, indicated she wants to work with Jacobs' critics within the state party. That includes supporting Democrats "who are electable," she said.
"There's a lot of different ideas for how to get to basically the same result and I'm the person who has to be responsible for that," she said. "I gratefully own that mantle."