With Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s looming impeachment increasingly difficult to ignore, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul has begun transition planning in the event that she will be called on by the Assembly to perform her constitutional duties.
Sources familiar with her thinking tell The Chronicle that an informal transition committee chaired by her husband, William C. Hochul, the former United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, has been engaging quietly in wide-ranging discussions.
It’s expected that Governor Hochul would name Leecia Eve as her Lt. Governor. Eve is a Harvard-educated lawyer and daughter of former Assembly leader Arthur O. Eve. It’s thought that former Commissioner of Empire State Development, Howard Zemsky, would serve as Budget Director.
The State Budget is due on March 31st and Legislative leaders have called for more than $7 billion in new income taxes. Prior to Cuomo’s tenure, it was common for budget negotiations to be delayed late into June.
Hochul will not have much time to install her loyalists in key party positions before having to seek reelection in 2022, though it’s thought that she would be quick to replace State Democrat Chairman Jay Jacobs with Erie County Democrat Chairman Jeremy Zellner, a longtime political compatriot.
It’s unclear who Hochul intends to name as Chairman of her re-election effort, though some have suggested that Mayor Byron Brown and former Congresswoman Nita Lowey might be convinced to serve as co-chairs.
She is considering a number of candidates to serve as Campaign Manager — a position she intends to hire as early as next month. Among those being considered: the longtime Bolton St. Johns lobbyist Camile Brandon; Republican pollster Chris Grant; and NYSUT Regional President Mike Deely.