Benjamin is Out. What's Next?
Ana Maria Archila, Brian Benjamin, Diana Reyna (l-r)
This year’s race for New York Lieutenant Governor took a major turn with the recent resignation from office of Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, who had been in the role less than eight months. Benjamin -- a state senator appointed to the position by Governor Kathy Hochul when she ascended from Lieutenant Governor upon the resignation of then-Governor Andrew Cuomo last August -- resigned after being indicted on federal corruption charges related to a fundraising scandal.
Benjamin was seeking the Democratic nomination in this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s race, and may still appear on the June ballot given the timing. It remains an open question whether he will move out of state or another path will be pursued to remove him from the ballot, like legislation that has been floated in the State Legislature. Hochul and her team have apparently begun vetting replacements for the Lieutenant Governor position, but those determinations are likely closely intertwined with whether that new official could also get onto the ballot this year.
Those issues are being examined as voting approaches and as Hochul runs in her own primary, seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor for the first time. Party primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor occur separately but the winners in each party form a general election ticket. Meaning that whoever wins the Democratic primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, even if they are not informal running-mates from the primaries, become a joint ticket for the fall ballot.
Asked last week about the situation, Hochul indicated she is exploring the options. "That is up for him and his attorneys to decide the best recourse for him," she said after saying she was not asking Benjamin to move out of state. "That is one of the options that are out there. There are limited options available to us but we're exploring all that."