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5.4.22 Advocacy Alert: Who is NY’s New Lt. Gov?

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Josh Veronica

May 4, 2022

How did we get here? 

When former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned last summer, his Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was elevated to the Executive Mansion. Hochul then appointed Brian Benjamin, a Harlem state senator, to backfill her vacant Lt. Governor seat.  

Benjamin’s honeymoon was short-lived. Benjamin was arrested last month on corruption charges and promptly resigned, after just seven months on the job.  

Earlier this week, Democrats in the state legislature maneuvered to remove Benjamin’s name from the ballot, enabling Hochul to appoint a replacement Lt. Governor and running mate: Antonio Delgado.  

Who is Delgado? 

Delgado has represented New York’s 19th Congressional District since 2019. He lives in Rhinebeck, a town north of Poughkeepsie. His mid-Hudson district spanned much of the rural territory between Albany and Binghamton.  

After graduating from Harvard Law, Delgado worked as a commercial attorney and dabbled in rapping before unseating Rep. John Faso in the 2018 “blue wave” election.   

Where does he stand? 

Given Delgado’s rural district, he has had to walk an “ideological tightrope,” searching for bipartisan victories and avoiding overly contentious issues. Since he did not hold office prior to Congress, his Congressional record and campaigns are the only glimpse we have into his ideology. 

  • On healthcare, Delgado has opposed single-payer healthcare proposals, but has introduced legislation to create a public option. 
  • He did not support the Green New Deal in Congress. To address rising gasoline and home heating costs, Delgado called for the release of strategic oil reserves. Delgado also supports the suspension of gasoline taxes.  
  • Delgado voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a BNP priority in 2021.  

In 2020, the US Chamber endorsed Delgado. However, the Chamber’s opinion soured after Delgado backed the “Build Back Better” reconciliation package that would significantly raise taxes, and the Chamber began running critical ads in his district. He has a 71% lifetime score from the Chamber, ranking higher than most Democrats but below most Republicans.  

Political implications 

Delgado will run for Lt. Governor, but he will have to compete to earn a full term. Some progressive legislators have already endorsed activist Ana Maria Archila for the post. If Delgado wins the LG primary, he will appear with Hochul as a ticket on the November ballot.  

Archila immediately knocked Delgado, questioning his lack of support for the Green New Deal, single-payer healthcare, good cause eviction, and lowering the farmworker overtime threshold. 

Delgado’s promotion may have national implications. He was running for re-election in an ultra-competitive House district against Marc Molinaro, a well-known Republican who was the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee in 2018. The departure of a Democratic incumbent in a swing district means the seat is more likely to flip, which could determine the majority in the House.  

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