Who Is Kathy Hochul? New York Lt. Governor Would Take Over if Scandals Topple Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing renewed calls to resign as an investigation into sexual harassment allegations takes shape. The Democrat is also embroiled in a COVID-19 scandal after it was revealed the state underreported deaths in nursing homes.

Anna Ruch became the third woman to accuse Cuomo of harassment on Monday. A former Biden campaign worker, she told The New York Times the governor touched her and asked if he could kiss her within moments of meeting her at a wedding in 2019.

With growing calls for him to resign and even suggestions that he could be impeached, attention has turned to the woman who would succeed him: Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.

Hochul is a Democrat who has served as lieutenant governor since 2015. She was Cuomo's running mate in his second gubernatorial election in 2014 and is his second lieutenant governor, succeeding Robert Duffy.

Hochul served in the House of Representatives for New York's 26th congressional district from 2011 to 2013, having won a special election caused by the resignation of Republican Congressman Chris Lee.

She had previously enjoyed a 15-year political career in Buffalo and, according to CBS New York's Tony Aiello, has "forged a reputation as personable and tireless" since coming to office seven years ago.

If Cuomo is forced to resign or, in the far less likely scenario, is impeached and removed from office, Hochul would become the first female governor the state has ever had.

However, she would be the second lieutenant governor in recent memory to finish out her predecessor's term if Cuomo resigns. In 2008, Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex worker scandal. Lt. Governor David Paterson assumed office and served the remainder of Spitzer's term.

Hochul has said little about the issues plaguing her boss even as other prominent New York Democrats publicly criticize him and call for him to resign. She is reportedly not regarded as part of the governor's inner circle.

"Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and to be taken seriously," Hochul said of the first two allegations in a statement. "I support an independent review."

During her time as lieutenant governor, Hochul has promoted "Enough is Enough" to fight sexual assault on college campuses. She's also recently been active in dealing with COVID-19, meeting local officials and visiting all 62 of New York's counties in the process.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has been granted authority to investigate the allegations against Cuomo but so far the governor has given no indication that he's considering resigning.

The sexual harassment claims come as Cuomo is still facing harsh criticism following reports that New York concealed the number COVID-19 deaths in state's nursing homes.

New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul
Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul participates in the 2020 Women's March on January 18, 2020 in New York City. Attention has turned to Hochul amid calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. John Lamparski/Getty Images