NEW YORK - Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio were all smiles in a picture tweeted by the soon-to-be governor following their meeting in New York City on Tuesday. It was a sharp contrast from the mayor's relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Hochul ventured downstate, in part, to build up her name and face recognition since she's running for governor in 2022.
"Kathy Hochul has said herself that she's been stronger upstate than downstate," Democratic strategist Basil Smikle said. "So it makes sense to meet with leaders downstate to try to strengthen that base since Democratic primaries for governor are generally won in New York City and in our suburbs."
She also met with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a progressive, who ran against Hochul in 2018 for lieutenant governor in a hard-fought race.
"It's an important move to say that 'I'm willing to work with progressives,' particularly as the state legislature has become more progressive," said Smikle, the director of the Public Policy Program at Hunter College.
Meeting with Jumaane Williams has additional benefits, Smikle added. Williams has not ruled out running for governor himself in 2022 or he could run for lieutenant governor again.
"It is possible that he could run for lieutenant governor as she seeks a full term as governor," he said. "So if, for example, she becomes governor and he actually wins and becomes lieutenant governor, it'd be good to establish a working relationship with him now."
Plus, Hochul is also in the city looking for a lieutenant governor to serve with her now and who will remain on her ticket in 2022 when she could likely face state Attorney General Letitia James as an opponent. Hochul wants to select a person of color.
"I definitely think it takes some of the strength away from other opponents, potentially someone like Tish James, who also represents and has support from a large contingency of progressives around the city in the state," Smikle said.