Governor gives ‘Jeopardy’ contestant a 2nd chance at clue

A New York resident who was stumped by a “Jeopardy” question about his state’s governor got a do-over Friday, joining Gov. Kathy Hochul’s virtual COVID-19 briefing to tell her he knows who she is now.

“Here in New York we actually believe in second chances,” Hochul said before introducing Ben Walthall, the Brooklyn resident who failed to buzz in on the clue, “In 2021, she became the first female governor of New York state.”

The clue was read again Friday by a Hochul staff member who at first said “first female president” and then corrected himself to “governor of New York state.” Walthall correctly responded, “Who is Kathy Hochul?”

None of the contestants in the episode that aired Wednesday answered the question about Hochul, even Amy Schneider, the “Jeopardy” juggernaut who had won 22 consecutive games as of Thursday’s broadcast.

Walthall told Hochul that his episode was filmed “a couple months ago, right when you took office, so that’s part of the reason why I may have sat out on that question.”

Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, took over as governor in August when fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. A “Jeopardy” spokesperson said Wednesday’s episode was filmed Oct. 12.

Walthall said he grew up in Massachusetts but has lived in New York for 11 years. He said his girlfriend is a New York City public school teacher, and he thanked Hochul for her efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccinations among eligible children. “It’s really important to keep both teachers and kids safe,” Walthall said, “so I definitely appreciate all you’re doing there.”

Hochul told Walthall there are no hard feelings.

“I don’t have a long memory,” she said, “so we’re good.”

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