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Kathy Hochul says she will run for New York governor next year after Cuomo's tenure

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on August 11, 2021 at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York.

Cindy Schultz | Reuters

The New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday she plans to run for governor in the state race in 2022 after finishing the remainder of Governor Andrew Cuomo's tenure.

"I fully expect that. I have prepared myself for it," said Hochul when asked on NBC's "TODAY" if she would run.

"I'm confident that they will see that I fight like hell every day. So I'm hard-wired and looking forward to this challenge, and I won't let the New Yorkers down," said Hochul in the interview.

Hochul will succeed Cuomo in less than two weeks and complete the last 15 months of his tenure. The governor announced his resignation after a bombing report by the New York Attorney General found that he sexually molested at least 11 women and monitored a hostile work environment in his office.

Hochul said Wednesday she was ready to take the helm and vowed not to have the same “toxic” job her predecessor allegedly had for his three terms in office. She also said she would oust any Cuomo staff or officials involved in the report.

"Nobody who was described as unethical in the report will remain in my administration," said Hochul on Wednesday. "There will be sales."

As Lieutenant Governor, Hochul has amassed a war chest of around $ 1.7 million, according to state campaign funding records.

It already has a strong mix of wealthy donors from a wide variety of industries, including real estate, labor, and healthcare, according to state campaign finance records.

The campaign's impressive funding suggests that Hochul has an advantage through 2022.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Attorney General Letitia James, who oversaw the month-long investigation against Cuomo. She has ambitions for higher offices but has not said whether she would run for office.

Cuomo, despite his resignation, could run for governor again within the next two weeks if he is not tried and convicted by state lawmakers. The governor had more than $ 18 million in campaign funds at the end of the first half of this year.

New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi is also considering running for governor next year, according to key Democratic Party sources in and around Albany. The Democrat was one of several critics of Cuomo's working environment and had asked the governor to resign.

But Biaggi is not a household name like other contenders and has only $ 185,000 in campaign funding, according to New York State Campaign Funding records, making it unlikely to win the election.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several Republican candidates have announced their plans to run for governor next year, including US MP Lee Zedlin and Westchester County executive Rob Astoriano. Andrew Giuliani, a former aide in the Trump administration and son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has also announced his candidacy.

– CNBC's Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.

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