Hochul, James, de Blasio vie for some love at Somos Resort

San Juan, Puerto Rico – The beaches here might seem a little crowded to at least three of the Democratic attendees of the annual SOMOS political retreat.

Three potential candidates for governor in 2022 are vying for the attention and support of New York’s powerful political and union class that immigrated to sunny Puerto Rico all week.

The race is all official between Gov. Cathy Hochhol and state attorney general Letita James, along with other potential candidates: outgoing New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and city attorney general Juman Williams, who did not attend.

“You’re bringing together as many elected officials, key lobbyists and fundraisers, union leaders and the press as possible,” said a Democratic insider who has made the trip to sunny San Juan all week, describing the candidates’ likely goals in 2022.

“They each come with a list of elected officials they want to support when they’re here — especially Democratic leaders in the Bronx and Brooklyn, members of the assembly, senators and council members.”

New York State Attorney General Leticia James
The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, will likely be looking to build momentum for her ruling path on Somos.
Getty Images

“The dirty little secret at Somos is that if you throw in a toothpick you will run into a pressure member — most of them bring in their customers,” the source added, noting that Somos’ sponsors include powerful Montefiore Medical Centers, Uber, New York Building Conference, HealthFirst, Fresh Direct, Doordash and Real Estate Board in New York

The work industry shows a huge presence as well, with Kyle Bragg of the 32BJ Construction Workers Union making the trip as well as DC37 President Henry Garrido and representatives from the 1199SEIU Board of Supervisors and Administrators, UFA and UFT.

“Finally guys – the press. They should convince you that they’re legit. They should spin. They should make sure when they get home that people say nice things about them,” added the Democrat.

Comptroller Tom Dinapoli – who hosted Wednesday’s reception – told The Post: “Looking at the annual calendar – it’s a great opportunity for political networking…but the big drama this year is Tish and Kathy.”

Hochul has been raising cash hard ahead of what’s expected to be a fierce June — hitting big lobbyists like Bolton St-John’s and announcing they want to raise at least $25 million by next year.

The insider, who is a native of Buffalo, says Hochul should advance further down the state especially in vote-heavy Brooklyn and Queens.

It was in those areas that New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a native of Brooklyn, courted middle-class and working-class voters badly during his 2021 primary campaign.

Hochhol has already chosen Harlem Democrat Brian Benjamin to be its deputy governor – a key choice as she tries to expand her base.

But James — another native of Brooklyn — is known for her ties to labor leaders and her support among black and black voters, especially in her area.

Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be considering running for governor while Somos attends.
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“I think the general view is this: It descends too early for a two-woman race. There is no doubt that the Latino vote is a very important constituency in the Democratic Party,” Dinapoli said.

De Blasio arrived Thursday afternoon, but the first Democrat source indicated he has plenty of ground to cover.

“Bill de Blasio has to convince people that he’s no longer late at night. Nobody takes him seriously. Nobody thinks he can be governor let alone win a city council race again in Brooklyn,” the source said.

However, Williams will not attend the conference due to a chronic fear of flying.

“Although Juman does not fly on planes, the race for the governor began in San Juan in his absence,” a source close to James said.

Sources acknowledged that entries from de Blasio and Williams could pull votes from James in the five boroughs.

Meanwhile, James arrived Wednesday afternoon and was one of the only Poles speaking at the reception.

A second Democratic source who witnessed the speech said: “She’s present. She gets up there and she has a really charismatic personality.”

“Attorney James is not new to Somos or Puerto Rico and has had endorsements since I entered the race for governor less than a week ago. A third Democratic source said she has already received a very positive reception and will look to continue that week.

Attorney General Juman d.  Williams
Attorney General Juman Williams will not attend Somos.
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James then attended an 11 a.m. event with the Hispanic Federation — a nonprofit Latino advocacy group with deep ties to Bronx politics — where she discussed the US Supreme Court’s case regarding Puerto Rican access to social safety net programs.

Although she protested that she wanted to “focus on what’s going on here and not on politics at all”, it can’t be ignored that the union was founded by her advisor Luis Miranda, of Hamilton Strategies.

Miranda is also the founder of the powerful lobbying firm MirRam Group, which also represents the Hispanic Federation of Albany.

Frank Miranda – who has nothing to do with Lewis – said he also plans to host an event with Hochul Friday.

Hamilton is also represented by Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez — who is considering his own bid for the state attorney general.

But one lawmaker told The Post that Miranda is very clearly “taking advantage of his relationship with the union to help Tesch”.

Another Latino man with connections to Huchul said the union would remain “in the middle of the pen” and would not take sides because it is a non-profit organization and is not allowed to provide political endorsements.

“The weakness that might exist for Huchul is that the Hispanic community is overwhelmingly in New York City, and they have worked with Tisch for longer than Hushul—and this upstate split may be a problem for her,” said John Deseo, a Democratic political insider since long time.

“They both have very similar strengths – they have both long-elected officials and have been doing things with the Latino community throughout their careers. Now the governor is ready.”

Hochul for her part kicked off Thursday with an interview at 9 a.m. hosted by City & State, sponsor SOMOS.

Soon, she announced her candidacy for Harlem Democratic Assembly member Robert Rodriguez for the position of her Secretary of State – in reference to the Hispanic community.

James and Hutchul are on track to speak to donors and lawmakers at 6 p.m. at an event hosted by Eleanor Legacy, a prominent women’s group.

There is also the race for the next city council president – insiders say there is a strong desire to elect a Hispanic to the position.

Candidates so far include council members Adrian Adams, Carolina Rivera, Francisco Moya, Diana Ayala, Jill Brewer, Justin Brannan – who is still waiting to know if he is re-elected – and Keith Powers.


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