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Gov. Hochul offered support Thursday for the chairman of the New York State Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, who has come under fire after Republicans flipped four House seats statewide in the midterm elections.
Hochul, who won by about 6 percentage points in the closer-than-expected governor’s race, dismissed internal Democratic criticism of Jacobs as “Monday morning quarterbacking” and rejected calls for him to step down.
“I think he did a great job as chair,” the governor told reporters in Puerto Rico, where she is attending the Somos conference. “We’re not changing anything.”
Hochul’s relatively narrow margin of victory in the deep-blue state — Democrats had won four straight New York governor’s races by at least 14 points — came as the party’s congressional candidates took a licking on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.
Critics within the party viewed Hochul’s field operation as lackluster, and described a lack of support from the state Democratic Party.
On Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Queens Democrat who campaigned with Hochul, called on Jacobs to resign, leading a growing chorus among progressive voices within the party.
She tweeted that the party’s performance in New York was a “testament to years of prioritizing calcified machine politics and favoring over performance.”
On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez also retweeted a post criticizing former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s judicial nominees for striking down a Democratic-drawn gerrymander of New York’s congressional map.
Jacobs, a Long Island Democrat who served as state party chair from 2009 to 2012 and returned to the post in 2019, was once a close Cuomo ally.
He said Wednesday that Ocasio-Cortez’s post calling for his resignation was “inaccurate.”
“I don’t think the congresswoman understands what the state party does,” Jacobs said in an interview. “I think it would be beneficial for her to pick up the phone instead of writing a tweet — she can get a hold of me and call me.”
In Puerto Rico, Hochul suggested that a flood of $20 million in pro-Republican outside spending made the Democrats’ task tougher.
“I look after my team’s played on a Sunday: Who’s in the win column and who’s in the loss column?” she said of her victory. “I’m really proud and humbled to be able to represent the people of this state.”