Public advocate jumps into 2022 race for New York governor

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ALBANY — New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has officially declared a run for governor in 2022, joining Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Tish James in a Democratic primary next summer.

Williams, in a two minute and 14 second video ad released late Monday evening, drew on his diagnosis with Tourette syndrome, saying that it has never defined him. He also spotlighted his years working as an activist and organizer.

The emotional ad showed clips of protests against immigrant deportations, police violence and rental laws and highlighted Williams’ own arrests for civil disobedience.

“There is a movement building in New York, a courageous progressive movement that challenges the powerful and helps restore that power to the people, a movement that I’m proud to be a part of,” Williams says in the video. “Because without courageous progressive leadership, the way things have always been will stand in the way of what they can be."

Williams, who was just reelected in a landslide, announced his intention to explore a bid for governor in September. He then went on a tour to all corners of New York and has highlighted progressive movements outside the boroughs in Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.

Williams came within seven points of defeating Hochul for lieutenant governor in 2018. In their rematch for governor, the self-described activist with ties to the Democratic Socialists of America faces a steep challenge matching Hochul’s $10 million campaign war chest. Still, his supporters say he could to energize far-left voters and compete with James for the Working Families Party ballot line.

James — who entered the race after her office’s investigation forced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down in August — is hoping to secure support from moderate Black Democrats and liberal voters alike. Both James and Williams hail from Brooklyn and despite their differences, Williams’ entrance into the race is set to create divisions in both their bases.

“Throughout his career, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has been an important leader on issues from police reform to housing and we welcome him to the race," James said in a statement.

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