On May 3, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the appointment of U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado to serve as lieutenant governor of New York. The lieutenant governor post became vacant following the resignation of Gov. Hochul’s first pick, former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem). Benjamin was recently arrested on federal bribery charges; he maintains his innocence.
Rep. Delgado has represented New York’s 19th congressional district since 2019. The district includes the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. Rep. Delgado is Afro-Latino; he is the first person of color to represent Upstate New York in Congress and is a member of both the Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses.
A native of Upstate New York, Representative Delgado grew up in Schenectady. He lives in Rhinebeck with his wife, Lacey, and their twin eight-year-old sons. He graduated from Colgate University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. After earning a master’s degree from Oxford, he received a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Representative Delgado was first elected to Congress in 2018. He chairs the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit and serves on the House Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. According to ProPublica, Representative Delgado voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 99% of the time during the 2019-2020 legislative session.
Also on May 3, the Governor announced that Representative Delgado will replace Benjamin as the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate for lieutenant governor on the 2022 primary ballot. Benjamin was designated as the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate for lieutenant governor at the New York State Democratic Convention in February; however, following Benjamin’s arrest and resignation, Gov. Hochul has been looking for ways to jettison him. Just yesterday, Albany’s Democratic majorities passed legislation that would allow Benjamin to remove himself from the primary ballot. Hochul quickly signed the bill into law, opening the door for the Democrats to name a new preferred candidate for lieutenant governor.
Not everyone was supportive of the Governor’s actions. In a statement, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) said, “The appointment of Rep. Antonio Delgado as lieutenant governor completes the shameless political maneuvering Democrats have engaged in since the corruption arrest of Brian Benjamin.” Barclay continued, “Since the federal indictment of Gov. Hochul’s first lieutenant governor, New York Democrats have done everything they can to alter election rules mid-stream, change state law to work to their benefit and avoid any consequence for the governor’s egregious decision. Rep. Delgado will now hold the second-highest office in New York without being elected to the position or requiring any approval from the Legislature.”
Once Representative Delgado resigns his seat in Congress, Gov. Hochul is expected to call a special election to fill his seat. Representative Delgado had been facing a stiff re-election battle against Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.