(Bloomberg) -- New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams launched an exploratory committee for New York governor on Tuesday. 

A spokesman said his campaign planned to file formal paperwork later today. Williams’s announcement is notable because he is the first Democratic candidate to formally disclose a run against Governor Kathy Hochul, kicking off the 2022 New York governor’s race. 

Hochul, who took over the governor’s mansion earlier this year when Andrew Cuomo resigned over multiple sexual harassment allegations, has said she will run in the 2022 election. Cuomo’s exit created a political vacuum for a state he dominated for years and Williams said Cuomo’s departure represented an opening for the state’s Democratic Party.

Other potential candidates including New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio haven’t formally said if they will run. “There’s just an opportunity here. New Yorkers have been failed by this governor more than I think people realize,” Williams, 45 years old, said in an interview with Bloomberg News in August.

Read More: Cuomo Creates Political Vacuum With Exit From State He Dominated

Williams, who became the city’s public advocate in 2019, is known for his activism work in affordable housing, policing, and other progressive causes around the city. He has been arrested multiple times at various protests. Hailing from Brooklyn, Williams previously lost to Hochul in a 2018 lieutenant governor’s race but got nearly 47% of the vote in a primary challenge.

The New York Times earlier reported the formation of the exploratory committee.

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