State Sen. Brian Benjamin is frontrunner choice for Hochul's lieutenant governor: Source

HARLEM (WABC) -- Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to name State Sen. Brian Benjamin to be her lieutenant governor as early as Thursday in Harlem, according to a person familiar with her thinking.

Hochul will make a "special announcement" with Benjamin at 1 p.m. Thursday in Harlem, according to a public schedule released by her office Tuesday afternoon.

Hochul, who is from Western New York, had previously said she would pick a lieutenant governor from NYC.

The 44-year-old Benjamin is the senior assistant majority leader in the Senate.



He has represented Harlem since 2017. He placed fourth in the Democratic primary for comptroller earlier this year.

He is progressive, particularly on criminal justice reform, a counterweight to Hochul's more moderate background.

If he accepts the job, Benjamin would become the state's second Black lieutenant governor.

The role of lieutenant governor in New York has long been largely ceremonial, with the officeholders traveling to ribbon-cutting ceremonies and town halls across the state. But the state's two most recent lieutenant governors have become governor following the resignations of their predecessors.

Benjamin is the son of Caribbean immigrants. He was born in Harlem Hospital and raised in the neighborhood, later earning a bachelor's degree in public policy from Brown University and a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School. He later worked as a developer of affordable housing.

Outgoing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr was also said to be in contention and released the following statement:

"State Senator Brian Benjamin has served New York with distinction, and I congratulate him on being selected as Lieutenant Governor. I look forward to working with him and Governor Kathy Hochul on economic development initiatives and policies that will improve the lives of Bronxites and all New Yorkers. I wish him much success in this new role."

Other reaction poured in on Twitter:





Meanwhile, NYGOP chairman Nick Langworthy released the following statement:

"New Yorkers are being shot, stabbed, raped, robbed and attacked in huge crime surges across the state of New York and Kathy Hochul just doubled down on Democrats' dangerous agenda by appointing a "Defund the Police" radical leftist to serve as her second in command. This reckless pick proves that she represents a continuation of the same failed policies and underscores the urgency of electing a Republican governor in 2022 who will bring common sense and balance to New York

There were no immediate comments from spokespersons for Hochul or Benjamin.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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