New York State

Hochul picks Brian Benjamin for LG

The Harlem Democrat could help the new governor make inroads with downstate voters.

State Sen. Brian Benjamin, Kathy Hochul's pick for Lt. Gov.

State Sen. Brian Benjamin, Kathy Hochul's pick for Lt. Gov. NY Senate Photo

Gov. Kathy Hochul has named state Sen. Brian Benjamin of Harlem as her replacement as lieutenant governor, multiple media outlets have reported.

The selection of the Manhattan legislator, first reported by NY1 Wednesday morning, means more diversity than ever at the upper echelons of government – state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is now the only white man in a statewide office – while also adding some downstate balance for Hochul, a Western New York native, as she gets ready to run for reelection next year. The newly installed governor will announce her pick at a Thursday event in Harlem, according to The City. 

A new gig as lieutenant governor offers Benjamin a second chance to move on from the state Legislature midway through his third term in office. He came in fourth in the 2021 Democratic primary for New York City comptroller in June, with 7.7% of the vote. He will be the second Black man to serve as lieutenant governor of New York.

State Sen. Jamaal Bailey, also rumored to be in the running, congratulated Benjamin in a tweet Wednesday. “As we reimagine New York, we continue to move forward with the best. Huge congrats to my brother @NYSenBenjamin and his wonderful family on this well-deserved appointment,” Bailey wrote.

Benjamin did not respond to a voicemail and text message sent Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for Hochul did not respond to a request for comment.