Vice Governor Brian Benjamin resigned on Tuesday. A scheme to secure donations for the campaign.
However, he is likely to stay on the ballot for the June primary, which could lead to confusion that Governor Kathy Hokul will be elected as the first woman to lead New York.
Approximately eight hours after news of Benjamin’s arrest was reported after 5 pm on Tuesday, Hokur issued the first official statement on the situation of the lieutenant, stating that he had accepted his resignation and entered into force immediately.
“It’s clear to both of us that he can’t continue to serve as vice-governor while the legal process goes on. New Yorkers deserve absolute trust in their government, and I Will continue to work every day to deliver for them, “read her statement.
However, according to election lawyers and political observers, Hokur is sticking to Benjamin on a ticket to accept or reject the designation for the next June primary after the April 11 deadline. That’s unless some important things happen. Benjamin leaves the state and is appointed to another office, either declining LG’s nomination or dying.
Another way for Benjamin to get a boot from ballots could emerge. State legislators may pass a bill to do so. The political blow that can result from such a move also discourages action.
It can leave Hochul in a tricky place.She was stubborn recently Last thursday She had “maximum confidence” in Benjamin and reassured reporters that he would continue to be her running mate.
“This is an optics game. Why do you put yourself in a position when this is the case?” Said a Democratic operative who didn’t want to be named so that he could discuss the situation freely. “Last week it helps to remind everyone how bullish she was that this was okay.”
Democrats whispered earlier Tuesday that the possibility of Benjamin’s resignation could give the governor and other Democrats an opportunity to move away from him in the next election, according to sources outlining the debate. I started.
Benjamin was a state senator representing Upper Manhattan and was subsequently a candidate for the City Auditor before Hokur appointed him as Deputy Commander, and was fourth in the 2021 Democratic primary. rice field.
With his resignation, Hokur will be the first governor of a generation not coming from New York City and its surrounding suburbs. She covers part of her because she faces her challenges from within her Republican as well as her own party.
However, his resignation is not a panacea, as the name Brian A. Benjamin appears on the ballot.
“His nomination at the party convention is not contingent on completing his existing term. It has nothing to do with his current term — it nominates him for the next term. That’s what election lawyer Ali Najimi said. “If Brian Benjamin wins the Democratic primary despite hanging on this indictment, any supporter of the other party will oppose him.”
Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) will be the second Deputy Governor under Hochul until Hochul chooses to replace Benjamin. (The first was when Hochul was first promoted to that role.)
Meanwhile, Benjamin’s lawyer, James Gates, issued a statement in support of the former vice-governor, saying that the $ 50,000 “supported” grant by Benjamin was used to cover school supplies for Harlem students. rice field.
“He will focus on explaining in court why his actions are commendable, not criminal,” Gates said in a statement. “He looks forward to being able to devote himself to public affairs once this case is over.”
Benjamin’s arrest took place on the same day as the massive subway shooting in Brooklyn, “adding the feeling that things were out of control,” said Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “The current governor’s job is to try to manage this as quickly as possible. How do you do that? You need to get rid of Benjamin.”
Hokuru from Buffalo, who was the deputy governor of former Governor Andrew Cuomo, was promoted to that position in August after Kuomo’s resignation in the face of suspicion of sexual harassment.
Catapult The first few days of chaos She argued that Hurricane Ida, which killed more than 40 people in the area, and the moratorium of expiring peasant evictions, the increasing number of cases of COVID-19, are controversial. Vaccination obligationsOne of Hochul’s early decisions was to utilize Benjamin as her second.
Some sources familiar with the decision explained how worried the governor and her team were in choosing someone to carry. Building credibility and political alliances among New York City residents With elected black or Latin officials from the area.
The decision to tap Benjamin, associated with the Harlem machine, was so swift that Senator Jamaal Bailey, leader of the Bronx Democratic Party, realized he couldn’t get the job done. Twitter, sources said.
Although predominantly a ceremonial position, the position of vice-governor became a stepping stone to power as the scandal-injured governor resigned in disgrace. Many years before Hokuru replaced Kuomo, Lieutenant David Paterson took over Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in a prostitution scandal.
Another democratic strategist said Benjamin’s arrest was reminiscent of an era of “Albany dysfunction.” Hokuru waited until late that day to deal with the morning arrest, but publicly exacerbated how inexperienced her team was and commented on another operative.
“This is the moment when the governor takes a step back and seeks to look not only at the seriousness of her allegations against the vice-governor, but also at the culture of Albany that fosters and enables such casual relationships. A huge funder, “said Sochie Nemeka, director of the Working Families Party in New York.
The left-wing WFP endorsed public supporter Jumaane Williams as governor and activist Ana María Archila as deputy governor.
“It’s the governor’s responsibility to vow to separate himself from the ethical and vicious politics that characterize the Cuomo era and to be really proud to bust in after his predecessor. It’s a moment of trial to show what it means. “
But it’s not all desperate for Hokuru. The indictment pointed out that Benjamin lied to his review form, gave Hokuru a plausible denial of what she knew, and when she learned it, another Democrat pointed out. ..
State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs issued a statement in support of “Hokul’s achievements that have made a significant contribution to the people of our state,” with “many good” for Benjamin’s resignation and the New Yorker. Praised.
As part of the bail agreement, federal prosecutors ordered Benjamin to stay in New York City and its surrounding suburbs. That is, he was no longer allowed to travel to the state capital and perform duties normally associated with the vice-governor.
However, according to Democratic sources, prosecutors have allowed him to travel to two places, the northern Georgian district and the eastern Virginia district, where Benjamin has a family.
New York Democratic officials have already discussed the possibility of asking Benjamin to resettle in Georgia or Virginia to disqualify him from ballots, and a vacancy committee consisting of leaders will select replacements. The road is open. ..
Or, to shake off potentially protracted political responsibilities from Benjamin, Hokul may be another candidate for WFP-backed Vice-Governor, including Alkira, or former Deputy Mayor Tom Suoji’s running mate. You can throw her weight on any of Diana Reina under then Mayor Eric Adams and a former city council member.
If so, she “is annoyed by the vice-governor trying to kill slowly,” said a Democrat.
“The best scenario she has LG has been weakening her for four years,” Source added.
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