A day after resoundingly losing his bid to unseat incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in the New York Democratic Primary, Caribbean American candidate for Governor of New York Jumaane D. Williams has expressed gratitude to voters, saying that he cannot thank them enough for “this privilege to be your voice and vessel for change through public service.”
Williams, New York City’s Public Advocate and son of Grenadian immigrants, ran a spirited campaign as a left-leaning candidate, but was unable to unseat Hochul in a three-way race that also involved US Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi, a centrist from Long Island, a New York City suburb.
Hochul, New York’s first female governor, won the Primary in a landslide, receiving 574, 608 votes, or 67.6 percent, according to preliminary results.
Williams was a distant second, receiving 164,337 votes, or 19.3 percent, while Suozzi garnered 110,888, or 13 percent.
“No matter how many times I step to the podium or go to the voting booth, I never take it for granted the office I hold, the people who have helped me to get there, who put their faith and their love and their time and their effort into changing New York for the better,” said Williams in a statement on Wednesday. “My pride and gratitude at all we’ve accomplished together so far is matched only by my excitement and determination toward what we can, and must and will, do moving forward.
“We knew from Day 1 that this campaign would be an uphill climb,” he added. “But every path I’ve taken, every campaign I’ve run, has been uphill. It’ll always be that way. The path to progress is always an uphill one, because when it comes to the challenges facing working families across our state, uphill is where the source of those struggles reside. It’s where the power has been concentrated for so long.
“As I look across the state and nation, I’m fearful for the future, for my family and for families across New York,” Williams continued. “The gravity of the moment threatens to pull us further down the hill; and, especially now, it can feel like every day we take a step back, every day we have to fight harder not just to move forward, but to hold onto what we have against attacks from the right wing and a court that executes their right-wing agenda.”
Williams said that is why he undertook the campaign for governor of New York.
“I said at the start of this journey that I’m always moving, and I’m going to keep moving,” he said. “I’m committed to moving us forward, while some are trying to drag us back and others are content with the status quo.
“I won’t settle for less than what each and every person in our state deserves,” he added. “I won’t let injustice and inequity shape the world my daughters will soon inherit. In the face of the problems before us it can be hard to see the progress of the past.
“But in the dozen years since I took office, we have come so far together,” the Public Advocate continued. “We have done so much together. We have headed uphill and surmounted obstacles to create change and pursue justice together. And, if past is prologue, we have so much more to do, and to win, together.”
He said he’s a Democrat because he believes that government can be a force for good in people’s lives, and that he’s also a Working Families Democrat because he believes “it has an obligation to do so, with equity and justice at its center.
“And I believe, as a member of the party, that we can be better,” Williams said. “That we have to be. We can create transformational change in the state by changing the way politics works in our party and our state. I hope that this campaign has been part of that, and that true reform is coming.”
As Public Advocate, Williams said he is going to continue to work to reimagine public safety, “so that New Yorkers feel safe and are safe” and “to build a transformative economy that centers working people, not just the wealthy.
“Today, we can feel disappointed; that’s okay,” he said. “Tomorrow, we have to take the cause back uphill. We cannot wait, we cannot stand still, because the challenges our city faces are too great.”