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Benjamin may have resigned, but his name will likely remain on the primary ballot

Apr 13, 2022 12:45 am

Joshua Solomon is reporting for the Times Union that Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin on April 12, became the third lieutenant governor in New York history to resign, but his name will likely stay on the Democratic primary ballot in June, thereby creating a competitive and complicated primary. Benjamin resigned after being arrested April 12 on federal corruption charges. Gov. Kathy Hochul will now have to make a decision: pick another lieutenant governor to serve out the remainder of Benjamin's term or leave the position vacant until January. Hochul may not be required to fill that vacancy before the results of the election. After the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the elevation of Lt. Gov. David Paterson to the office, the state went without a lieutenant governor for 15 months. In the interim, four state Senate majority leaders held the acting role of second-in-command. If Benjamin had not resigned, the path to his removal from office would have been through impeachment, according to Richard Rifkin, legal director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. The state Board of Elections said Benjamin's name will almost certainly appear on the primary ballot in June. In a statement from his legal team the evening of April 12, they said Benjamin would be suspending his campaign to focus on "explaining in court why his actions were laudable — not criminal." When the case is completed, they said, "he can rededicate himself to public service." If Benjamin remains on the ballot, he could still win the election and move onto the general election while his criminal case is pending. If he was to win but also be convicted of a felony prior to accepting the nomination, it could lead to trouble for him to hold the office, legal experts said. Hochul could appoint someone to finish out the term of lieutenant governor and then that person could run a write-in campaign in the primary, according to the Board of Elections. The other candidates on the primary ballot include Ana Maria Archila, on the Working Families line and moderate Democrat Diana Reyna. Read the full story in the Times Union.