Kathy Hochul on Tuesday became the first woman elected as New York governor. The Democrat candidate, who took over after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in 2021, defeated  Republican congressman Lee Zeldin in the Midterm election 2022. 

“Tonight you made your voices heard loud and clear. And, and you made me the first woman ever elected to be the governor of the state of New York. But I’m not here to make history, I’m here to make a difference,” Hochul told supporters Tuesday night.

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Zeldin was trailing by 24 percentage points at one point. However, the 42-year-old’s continuous anti-crime message boosted his numbers. The Democrats had President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton along with other high-profile politicians visited New York, helping Hochul in the final stretch. 

Kathy Hochul said that her victory shows that a woman could be elected ‘in her own right and successfully govern a state’. 

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“I have felt a weight on my shoulders to make sure that every little girl and all the women of the state who’ve had to bang up against glass ceilings everywhere they turn, to know that a woman could be elected in her own right and successfully govern a state as rough and tumble as New York.”

Hochul, 64, served as Cuomo’s lieutenant governor before taking over in August 2021. Her predecessor resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which he denies. Her campaign fundraising brought in more than $50 million, about double what Zeldin reported.

Zeldin is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015 and was a vocal defender of Trump during his two impeachments.

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Hochul was dogged by an early scandal in her administration, when her first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, was arrested in April.

Benjamin, who was accused of funneling state aid to a supporter in exchange for campaign contributions, denied wrongdoing but resigned. His arrest has not been raised on the campaign trail since Hochul handily won the Democratic primary in June.