The surprise resignation of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo instantly upended the 2022 governor’s race in New York, opening the floodgates for a rush of candidates vying for the state’s highest office after more than a decade with Mr. Cuomo at the helm.
At least seven candidates have formally begun campaigns for governor, the most powerful job in one of the country’s largest states, with the potential to shape policies with wide-ranging influence.
The race on the Democratic side is shaping up to be the first contested primary in decades, attracting candidates with history-making potential that will test racial, ideological and geographical lines in one of the nation’s liberal bastions.
Republicans, who have not won a statewide election in New York since 2002, face an uphill battle to reclaim the governor’s office, but they are hoping to replicate the party’s successes in the November 2021 off-year elections.
The field remains fluid, fractured and unpredictable, with the potential for others to join the fray ahead of the primary in June.
Here are the candidates:
The Democratic field has continued to swell with well-known political figures of diverse backgrounds since Mr. Cuomo resigned, while the contours of the Republican field began to emerge earlier in the year.
Kathy Hochul, 63, D
Gov. Kathy Hochul was the first candidate to jump into the race, officially declaring in August, after she ascended to the state’s top job following Mr. Cuomo’s resignation and made history as the state’s first female governor.
Ms. Hochul, a former congresswoman from the Buffalo area, previously served as Mr. Cuomo’s lieutenant governor for six years, a largely ceremonial role.
A moderate Democrat, Ms. Hochul has focused her first months as governor on responding to the pandemic and its economic fallout, hoping to use the advantage of incumbency to introduce herself to voters and secure a full term.
A Guide to the 2022 Governors’ Races
For all of the attention on the House and Senate campaigns, the governors’ races in 2022 may be just as important.
Letitia James, 63, D
Letitia James, the state attorney general, announced her candidacy in late October after months of rumors, instantly positioning herself as one of the most formidable challengers to Ms. Hochul.
Ms. James, a Brooklyn Democrat who is hoping to build a coalition anchored by Black and Latino voters, would become the first Black female governor in the nation.
Ms. James, who was elected attorney general in 2018, oversaw the investigation into the sexual harassment claims that led to Mr. Cuomo’s resignation and has garnered praise from liberals for suing the National Rifle Association and investigating President Donald J. Trump.
Tom Suozzi, 59, D
Representative Tom Suozzi of Long Island entered the race in late November, casting himself as a centrist Democrat focused on lowering taxes and reducing crime, and as someone unafraid to confront the party’s left wing.
Mr. Suozzi, who is looking to cut into Ms. Hochul’s support among moderate and suburban voters, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2016, after serving eight years as Nassau County executive.
Jumaane Williams, 45, D
Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate, formally declared his candidacy in mid-November, pitching himself as the candidate most suitable to become the standard-bearer of the party’s progressive left flank.
Mr. Williams, an activist who has described himself as a democratic socialist, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor against Ms. Hochul in 2018, but came within six percentage points of defeating her.
Rob Astorino, 54, R
Mr. Astorino, who got his start as a radio producer, was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, when Mr. Cuomo defeated him by more than 14 percentage points.
Mr. Astorino is seemingly intent on making a political comeback after being ousted as Westchester’s county executive in 2017 by George Latimer, a Democrat; he ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate in 2020.
Andrew Giuliani, 35, R
Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, launched his long-shot bid for governor in May, his first run for public office.
Mr. Giuliani, a former professional golfer who worked as a special assistant in Mr. Trump’s White House, was a contributor for Newsmax Media, the conservative media company, before entering the race.
Mr. Giuliani has embraced his connection and work for Mr. Trump, vowing to “Make Albany Great Again.”
Lee Zeldin, 41, R
Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican from Long Island and staunch supporter of Mr. Trump, announced his candidacy in April as Mr. Cuomo became engulfed in scandal, touting his conservative credentials.
Mr. Zeldin, who was first elected to represent Suffolk in 2015, quickly picked up the support of most of his party’s county leaders while criticizing the left-leaning policies implemented by Democrats who control the State Capitol in Albany.
Mr. Zeldin will have to contend with his vote in Congress to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in a state where Mr. Trump remains unpopular. He was diagnosed with leukemia last year and has been receiving treatment, but said the disease would not affect his bid for governor.
Others are exploring runs, with at least one big-city mayor hinting strongly that he intends to enter the race sooner rather than later.
Bill de Blasio, 60, D
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose second term ends this year, has told confidantes that he plans to run for governor and has filed paperwork for a potential run, while emphasizing in recent weeks that he intends to remain in public life.
Mr. de Blasio, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for president in the 2020 Democratic primary, would have to overcome low approval ratings, but would likely run on his achievements during his eight years as mayor, such as implementing free universal prekindergarten.