The corruption charges brought against Former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, the Democrat who will remain on the ticket this fall despite being indicted this week, has resulted in a number of questions.
Who will serve as interim lieutenant governor? Who will Governor Kathy Hochul choose as a running mate? How will this be painted by Republicans as Election Day draws closer?
Benjamin was arrested and arraigned in federal court in New York City. By late-Tuesday, he announced his resignation. Hochul accepted it, but major questions remained about the future of the lieutenant governor’s role.
What happens next in Albany?
There’s still a primary contest for lieutenant governor. That will take place on June 28.
Benjamin’s name will likely remain on the ballot. The only way it would be removed is through conviction or moving out of state.
Since Hochul had selected Benjamin as her running mate, it’s not entirely clear how another Democrat could get on the ballot.
A poll released Tuesday by Unite NY found that voters do care about the job, despite it having a relatively low profile politically.
Approximately 88% of voters surveyed said they believe the lieutenant governor should have the ‘readiness’ to lead immediately.
That makes sense, since the lieutenant governor has become governor twice in the last 15 years.
Who else is running for lieutenant governor?
Here’s a look at everyone who could presently become lieutenant governor in November.
Ana María Archila is running on the Working Families Party line alongside Jumaane Williams.
Alison Esposito is running on the Republican Party line alongside Rep. Lee Zeldin.
Quanda Francis is ‘considering’ a run as an independent, according to The City.
Diana Reyna, a Democrat, running alongside Democrat Rep. Tom Suozzi.
How does this change the race for Hochul?
Suozzi and Reyna issued a joint statement after Benjamin’s resignation. “The Suozzi/Reyna ticket will clean up this corrupt mess,” they said.
The duo called it an indictment on Hochul’s lack of experience.
However, one thing Hochul has on her side is financial resources.
It’s a unique situation- and one that hasn’t been seen in recent years. The role of lieutenant governor is an elected office in New York- so simply sliding another name in place of Benjamin’s is not one that can be done easily.
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