To say that Kathy Hochul has kept a low profile during her six-plus years as lieutenant governor of New York State is an understatement. The 62-year-old Buffalo native is rarely quoted in the press, was a quiet presence on the 2018 campaign trail, and when the New York Times proclaimed on November 6 of that year that Andrew Cuomo had been easily elected to his third term as governor, Kirsten Gillibrand to her second full term as U.S. senator, and Letitia James to her first as attorney general, the fact that Hochul had been reelected as the state’s lieutenant governor went completely unmentioned.
That could all change within the next few weeks, or perhaps even days. If Governor Cuomo, increasingly beset by charges of sexual harassment (with a third woman going public with her accusations this week), finally resigns, then Hochul would become the state’s governor, making her the first woman to ever hold that position and the second person in a little more than a decade to do so because of scandal. (In 2008, then lieutenant governor David Paterson was elevated to the governor’s position when Eliot Spitzer resigned following revelations that he had been a regular customer of a high-end prostitution ring.)