NY Gov. Hochul taps for lieutenant governor Rep Delgado – 33rd House Democrat not seeking reelection

Former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin resigned last month after being charged with bribery and campaign finance fraud.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to the media during her swearing in ceremony at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York on August 24, 2021.

New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul has named Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant governor – following the  arrest, then resignation last month of Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin on charges of bribery and campaign finance fraud.

Hochul in announcing her selection in a tweet called Delfgado, a New York Democrat, "an outstanding leader and public servant.

"I look forward to working with him to usher in a new era of fairness, equity, and prosperity for communities across the state," she also said. "We share a belief in working together to get things done for New Yorkers, and Representative Delgado has an incredible record of doing just that in Congress."

In going to Albany, Delgado becomes the 33rd House Democrat to not seek 2022 reelection, adding to his party's challenges to retain control of the chamber in November, or at least minimize Republicans' expected gains. 

Last month, Benjamin was charged with one count of federal program bribery, one count of honest services wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit those crimes and two counts of falsification of records.

The charges stem from an investigation into a kickback deal Benjamin orchestrated to send a $50,000 state-funded grant to a company in exchange for campaign contributions. 

Benjamin was initially elevated to the position last year following Hochul's ascent in the wake of the resignation of former Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo over allegations of sexual misconduct and a damning report from the state's Attorney General's office.

Hochul is currently running for a full term of her own as head of state. Delgado will now be on the ballot with Hochul this November. 

Republicans are now targeting Delgado's district ahead of the midterm election. His withdrawal from the race will be a boon for Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is presently the front-runner in the district's GOP primary. 

Delgado's 19th Congressional District includes the state's Catskills and mid-Hudson Valley regions – between metropolitan New York City and state capital Albany. The Cook Partisan Voting Index has the district as Republican Plus-3, which suggests the GOP has a good possibility of winning the seat.