Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday morning that Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Hudson Valley Democrat, will serve as her lieutenant governor, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Brian Benjamin in April.
The announcement was followed up shortly thereafter by the state Democratic Party revealing that the second-term congressman will also replace Benjamin on the primary ballot this summer, taking advantage of a state law enacted less than 24 hours earlier that facilitated the switcheroo.
“I am proud to appoint Antonio Delgado, an outstanding leader and public servant, as Lieutenant Governor of New York, and I look forward to working with him to usher in a new era of fairness, equity, and prosperity for communities across the State,” Hochul said in a statement.
“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. With Antonio Delgado by my side serving as Lieutenant Governor, we will both make history – and make a difference.”
Delgado beat incumbent Republican John Faso in 2018 and was likely to square off against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro this fall, regardless of what shaped the new congressional lines took. Delgado’s absence from the race dramatically increases the Republican’s chances of picking up this seat.
In order to secure a full term as lieutenant governor, Delgado will have to beat Democratic hopefuls Ana Maria Archila and Diana Reyna.
“This ticket has what it takes to carry Democrats through November and build a stronger state for all New Yorkers,” said party Chair Jay Jacobs. “Congressman Delgado is an incredibly strong addition to a history-making Democratic ticket that reflects the diversity of our state. Together, Governor Hochul and Congressman Delgado will lead New York to a brighter future.”
In response to the appointment, which is expected to take effect later this spring, New York Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy said Delgado’s appointment will be temporary, as Republicans will win the executive mansion this fall.
“It’s amazing how Democrats move at lightning speed when it comes to covering up their corruption, yet New Yorkers are perpetually trapped in a crime-riddled, economically depressed state. All Democrats do is replace the names and faces of their disgraced politicians but the policies never change. Antonio Delgado is just another radical leftist who wants to dismantle our criminal justice system and make New York a socialist state,” Langworthy said.
Following the announcement, New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento applauded the selection of Delgado, saying he “understands the needs of union members, and their families.” The backing of organized labor will be critical for Delgado to win the Democratic primary, as they’re an important means of galvanizing Democratic voters to come out.