Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared herself the “underdog” in her re-election campaign against Republican Lee Zeldin.
Despite millions of dollars in fundraising, the support of dozens of high-profile Democrats, and leading in nearly every poll conducted during the campaign, the incumbent governor called herself the underdog in the race. Hochul made the comments at a press gaggle Friday afternoon. The remark was met with a flurry of backlash from conservatives, who pointed out that she was anything but.
NY1 State House reporter Zack Fink shared the comments in a tweet Friday. “With polls showing a new dynamic in the race for Governor, @KathyHochul is asked if she has any regrets, or would have done anything differently,” Fink reported. “‘I am the underdog in this race,’ she says. Adds that she has only been in the Governor’s job a ‘short time.’”
With polls showing a new dynamic in the race for Governor, @KathyHochul is asked if she has any regrets, or would have done anything differently. “I am the underdog in this race,” she says. Adds that she has only been in the Governor’s job a “short time.” pic.twitter.com/5PfXVHoVet
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) October 28, 2022
Hochul has used this rhetoric before. “I take every election very seriously. This is my 14th election. I always run like an underdog up until the very last minute,” Hochul said at an event in August, via CBS News.
“I always run like I’m an underdog,” she told reporters earlier this month, via Politico. “I’m a sports fan. Everybody knows that. Always run with that underdog mentality. And I have been taking my message all across the state, been governor just over a year and people have had a chance to see the strength I have; the toughness that required to govern the state.”
Hochul may campaign like an underdog, but by nearly all major election metrics, she is far and away the favorite to win a full term as governor, despite a tightening race. According to The New York Times, by June of this year, Hochul had raised more than $34 million in donations; between July and October, she raised another $11 million, and currently boasts some $10.9 million in cash on hand.
Hochul also sports endorsements from some of the top Democrats in the country, including: President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, former Rep. Charlie Rangel, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, film director Steven Spielberg, The New York Times, and dozens of state lawmakers, organizations, and unions. She held an event with Biden and New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Thursday, and will rally with Clinton on November 3.
Hochul has also led in every single public poll with a single exception: a poll by Co/efficient conducted last week showing Zeldin with a lead of just 0.3 percentage points, 45.6%-45.3%. The RealClearPolitics average of polls currently has Hochul with a lead of 7.3 points.
Conservatives on Twitter mocked Hochul for being a favorite on paper, but tacitly admitting that the momentum favors her Republican challenger.
“The incumbent Dem governor in deep blue NYS is no underdog,” journalist Melissa Braunstein wrote. “She’s done a poor job governing.”
“Kathy Hochul announces she’s the underdog… what a Freudian slip,” journalist Ryan Girdusky added.
“Damn right you’re the underdog,” journalist David Marcus tweeted.
“‘Underdog.’ Let that sink in,” Republican Governors’ Association spokesman Will Reinert wrote. “The Dem governor of one of the bluest states in the nation says she is the ‘underdog.’ She failed to keep New Yorkers safe and the #NYgov race momentum shifted to @leezeldin.”