The pairing came as a surprise after Hochul had avoided appearances with the congresswoman at prior campaign events, which included stumping with high-profile Democrats including Vice President Kamala Harris and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Hochul has described herself as a more centrist “Biden Democrat,” which stands in contrast to Ocasio-Cortez’s far-left bent.
“We cannot afford an anti-choice person. Gov. Hochul has been so strong on supporting women’s right to choose,” Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Post. “She came out here after Hurricane Ida and we worked together to make sure we could get the fastest disaster declaration to help families out here get bailed out.”
Hochul, who became the first female governor of New York after taking over for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year, is locked in a heated gubernatorial battle against Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin. Hochul’s opponent has fared surprisingly well in a solidly blue state as high crime rates and high inflation emerged as top issues for voters.
Republicans competing for offices across the state have polled better than expected after the state underwent redistricting following the latest census. A House race between Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney and state Assemblymember Mike Lawler (R) to represent the 17th District has been unexpectedly close given Maloney’s prominence in the party.
A crowd gathered around Hochul and Ocasio-Cortez as the governor fielded questions from voters. Jonathan Forgash, founder of the nonprofit group Queens Together, told Hochul on Tuesday that small businesses and restaurants in Queens need her help after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just because COVID’s over doesn’t mean all the bills aren’t catching up with them. If they don’t get real help, they will all be gone by the summer. They need grants and small business loans with low interest rates,” Forgash said, according to the report. “The little people really need help. Small businesses are not getting enough support from Albany.”
Hochul also encouraged two teenage Girl Scouts to stay involved in politics as they get older.
“You can all be governors or members of Congress,” Hochul told them. “Stay involved. We need that energy from the youth.”
Ocasio-Cortez is also up for reelection Tuesday and is expected to defeat challenger Tina Forte during the midterm elections.
Republicans are predicted to flip the House and possibly the Senate.