BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked at length Thursday about a weekend effort to replace Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray with his lieutenant governor in New York's 27th Congressional District.
"I know Nate McMurray. He's a good person, good man, good elected official but there's a very strong feeling that Kathy Hochul, who obviously had been successful in that district before, would be the best candidate," he said.
For now, the governor calls the issue moot because Hochul, a former member of the House of Representatives, says she has no intention of running for Congress again. But he said he explored it because high-level Democrats, himself included, believe she has the best shot of beating incumbent Republican Chris Collins.
"It's all flattery for Kathy," he said. "Nancy Pelosi, Joe Crowley, I got calls from all across the nation asking me to ask Kathy to run but I always said it was Kathy's decision."
Cuomo said he made electing Democrats to congressional seats his priority this year. Collins and other members of the New York delegation who voted for the federal tax overhaul have specifically become targets of his ire.
"We've made tremendous progress in cutting property taxes with our two percent property tax cap," he said. "We've made tremendous progress in cutting income taxes. The federal government reversed that with one fell swoop."
The governor said he's not concerned about Hochul's prospects in a primary for lieutenant governor against Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams. He seemingly put to bed speculation he's looking to replace her on his ticket, affirming his commitment to Hochul as a running mate, with a small caveat.
"Yeah, I mean it's up to Kathy but nothing's changed from my point of view," he said.
Cuomo also denied drafting embattled former Empire State Development official Sam Hoyt, who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment, to talk to McMurray about dropping out of the race, but he said it’s no secret many people have been trying to get Hochul to run.