‘I love being underestimated’: Hochul rallies in Brooklyn with Dem bigwigs as election looms

Governor Kathy Hochul campaign rally in Brooklyn
Gov. Kathy Hochul rallied on Saturday with former president Bill Clinton, Mayor Eric Adams and more as the gubernatorial election loomed.
Photo by Kirstyn Brendlen

Governor Kathy Hochul pulled out all the stops at a Brooklyn rally on Saturday as the number of days before the governor’s race and her lead in the polls slipped into the single digits.

The governor was joined by former President Bill Clinton, Mayor Eric Adams, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and representatives from unions including local communications, service workers and hospitality unions in a last-minute bid to galvanize voters in New York City — whose votes could decide the outcome of the race.

kathy hochul at rally
Hochul touted her broad base of Democratic support and encouraged her supporters to vote Democrat and to get their friends and neighbors to do the same. Kirstyn Brendlen

“This whole election could come down to how big the turnout is in Brooklyn,” Clinton told the crowd at City Point on Saturday afternoon.

The former president touted Hochul’s accomplishments since she took office last fall — including “implementing a nation-leading plan to prevent climate change by creating jobs, expanded paid family leave, protected reproductive rights, protected our democracy, and cracked down in illegal guns.”

Recent polls have showed the governor leading Republican challenger Lee Zeldin in the polls by between four and eleven points — a margin too close for comfort for party leaders. There are over 7 million registered Democratic voters in New York State — compared to just under 3 million registered Republicans.

Almost half of registered Democrats in the state live within New York City — with over 1 million in Brooklyn alone. Hochul made campaign stops in Manhattan and Westchester County over the weekend, with local politicians joining her or holding separate rallies and Get Out the Vote events around the city.

“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. We have a governor that’s authentic, that’s real, she’s one of us,” Adams said at the rally. “She doesn’t come from some ivory tower somewhere…this is the moment to carry the ball home. Any moment we needed Kathy Hochul, she was there for us.”

Any time he’s called Hochul for help — whether it was for help beefing up subway security after the Sunset Park attack or for help to protect women’s right to choose what happens with their own bodies, she’s been there to step in, he said. 

Hochul — stepping onstage after Adams, Schumer, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and more stumped for her — celebrated her family’s union roots and the contributions of unions in New York. 

Unions — and the women who worked to secure women’s suffrage at Seneca Falls, and those who led the riots at Stonewall to secure rights for gay New Yorkers — have fought too hard to allow Zeldin and other Republicans to erase that progress, Hochul said.

“For that torch to be extinguished on our watch … that’s what’s on the ballot on Tuesday,” she said. “Because we are facing a contrast … there’s never been a greater contrast between us versus them.” 

Hochul and her supporters on Saturday pointed to Zeldin’s “extremist” votes in the House of Representatives; the Congress member voted last year against certifying the results of the 2020 election. 

union at hochul rally
The governor was supported by former president Bill Clinton, Attorney General Letitia James, Mayor Eric Adams, and a broad base of local unions. Kirstyn Brendlen

Nearly 400,000 people have voted early in New York City as of Nov. 5, with hundreds of thousands more expected to turn out to the polls on election day on Tuesday. Hochul encouraged Brooklynites to vote — and to tell their friends and neighbors to do the same.

“I ask you: Will you stand with me when we call out white supremacists, and hatred?” she asked the crowd on Saturday. “Will you stand with me when we stand up against extremism and election deniers?”

“There’s nobody tougher than me,” she said Saturday. “I love being underestimated.”