By day, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James have the constitutional requirement of their offices working together. But on the campaign trail, Hochul and James are both competitors for the Democratic nomination for governor over the next eight months.
Hochul on Monday insisted their relationship can be maintained despite the political swirl.
"I understand the difference between politics and the need to govern," Hochul said. "We will continue to have a very cordial relationship is my expectation."
That can be tough to do in the hard-edged world of New York state politics. And the governor has sought over the last several months since taking office to strike a far different, more conciliatory tone than her predecessor.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, elected to three terms, was known for a scorched-earth approach to campaigning, even against Republicans in a heavily Democratic state.
Hochul on Monday batted away multiple questions about the ongoing political scene in the state, days after James entered the race for the party's nomination. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has filed paperwork to run, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Tom Suozzi are also contemplating campaigns.
Hochul has maintained a scheduled of government work — she signed a bill today expanding paid family leave to include siblings — along with get-out-the-vote rallies and other events on the politics side of the ledger. In some instances, Hochul has been sharing top billing with James.
Hochul plans to work with James to help Democrats this year, and keep questions over their political differences to a minimum.
"I'm a professional," she said. "I know how to work with people, whether they're running against me or they're people who've lost me."