2022 Midterm Elections: Gov. Kathy Hochul Becomes New York’s First Elected Female Governor

After a close gubernatorial race, incumbent Kathy Hochul defeats opponent Lee Zeldin and is set to serve a full four-year term.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube CBS New York

Tuesday’s midterm elections projected incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul to serve a full four-year gubernatorial term after her victory over Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin. The governor gained over 52 percent of New York’s votes — about 300,000 votes more than her opponent — making her New York’s first elected female governor.

Hochul was the lieutenant governor of former governor Andrew Cuomo since 2014 for seven years, as the pair were re-elected in 2018. Following Cuomo’s resignation due to sexual misconduct  allegations and alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hochul took office in August 2021, becoming the 57th governor of New York. She is also a Buffalo native, making her the first governor from outside the New York City area since 2006.

During her victory speech on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Hochul addressed issues of affordable housing, gun violence and abortion rights in New York, all issues of which she focused on during her campaign. “This will become a place where fundamental rights are protected and women can make their own decisions about their bodies,” Hochul said. 

Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado will now serve a four-year term. Their crime-prevention efforts in New York are already apparent, as Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams recently unveiled a subway safety plan in New York City.

In her victory speech, Hochul mentioned that illegal gun possession and school safety are issues she aims to resolve during her tenure as governor.

Zeldin’s campaign was focused on crime in New York and inflation. After Hochul’s declared victory, Zeldin refused to concede. “There’s over 1.4 million election day votes that are still out,” Zeldin said in a statement on Wednesday, Nov. 9. “It’s going to be a little frustrating for the members of the media who didn’t want us ever to be in contention here in New York.”

Over 95 percent of New York votes have been counted, with over 5 million total votes recorded. Zeldin holds nearly 47 percent of the votes. 

The full New York midterm election results can be found on the state’s Board of Elections website.