The campaign for Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray scored a big endorsement Thursday morning.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has been open about her preference in New York’s 27th District, but formally announced her support for the candidate at a labor rally in the village of Blasdell. McMurray said it’s an important moment for his underdog campaign.

“A lot of people here trust her,” he said. “They know her name and to have someone like that endorse me and being by my side, it’s a big deal.”

It wasn’t that long ago, national Democrats and the governor were pushing behind the scenes for Hochul to replace McMurray on the ballot, an effort they both rejected. The lieutenant governor was the last Dem to hold the most Republican-leaning seat in the state – what was NY-26 before redistricting.

After it was redrawn even more favorably for the GOP, Hochul narrowly lost to Chris Collins in 2012. However, she said she believes there has always been a roadmap to a McMurray victory this year.

“I thought Nate could win regardless and I told him all along, I believe that the time is right for you to win. But God is looking down on this race because someone is getting his due once and for all,” she said.

Hochul pointed to her own win in September’s Democratic primary as a good sign for the McMurray. Across the eight counties in NY-27, Democratic turnout was significantly up from four years ago, and she believes those voters will turnout for the congressional race as well.

Aside from the oft-predicted “Blue Wave,” Hochul admitted Collins federal indictment for crimes related to insider trading has had an impact on the race. The endorsement comes on the same day, Collins attorneys were appearing in U.S. District Court in New York City for a hearing and Hochul, in a moment of candor, predicted an undesirable conclusion for her long-time nemesis.

“The individual that we’re running against is seriously ethically flawed and challenged and will be in jail, probably by the end of next year. That’s my guess, okay. I shouldn’t have said that but that’s alright,” she said.

McMurray wouldn’t go that far, pointing out Collins is innocent until proven guilty, but he believes the charges should have at least ended his opponent’s campaign. Regardless, he said the election is shifting in his direction with a strong fundraising showing for the third quarter and a recent internal poll indicating the race is a dead heat.

We’ve reached out to the Collins campaign for a statement in response to the endorsement.