Governor Kathy Hochul appointed upstate Congressman Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant governor Tuesday, May 3, filling the vacancy for her second-in-command left by Brian Benjamin who resigned amid federal campaign corruption charges last month.
The move comes after lawmakers passed and the governor signed a law Monday evening making it easier for Benjamin to get off the primary ballot in this year’s election.
Delgado represents the Hudson Valley and the Catskills and was the first person of color to rep upstate New York in Congress.
“I am proud to appoint Antonio Delgado, an outstanding leader and public servant, as Lieutenant Governor of New York, and I look forward to working with him to usher in a new era of fairness, equity, and prosperity for communities across the State,” Hochul said in a statement.
“We share a belief in working together to get things done for New Yorkers, and Representative Delgado has an incredible record of doing just that in Congress. With Antonio Delgado by my side serving as Lieutenant Governor, we will both make history – and make a difference,” the governor added.
Representative Delgado was elected to the House in 2018 to serve New York’s 19th District, which he flipped from Republican to Democrat that year and kept blue during a challenge in 2020.
The politician was set to face off against Republican Marc Molinaro in this year’s race, but Delgado’s appointment to the largely-ceremonial lieutenant governor position will open up the swing seat for a special election.
Holding on to the district will be challenging for Democrats as New York’s Court of Appeals rejected Albany lawmakers’ Congressional and state Senate district maps last week for illegal partisan gerrymandering.
In Washington, Delgado served as the chairperson of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. He also sits on the House Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
He lived in New York City for some years as a young lawyer, according to Hochul’s office.
He grew up in Schenectady and lives in Rhinebeck with his wife Lacey and their twin eight-year-old sons, Maxwell and Coltrane.
“New Yorkers deserve a Lieutenant Governor who’s working day and night to make lives better for working people and their families,” Delgado said in a statement. “Upstate, downstate, doesn’t matter. We all want the same things, security, family, and opportunity. The key is to listen to New Yorkers from all walks of life and then be their voice to get the job done.”
Former Lieutenant Governor Benjamin stepped down from the position after seven months on April 12 following his arrest on federal charges that he during his time as a Harlem state Senator directed $50,000 in state funds to a nonprofit organization controlled by a real estate developer Gerald Migdol in exchange for contributions to his failed campaign for city comptroller in 2021.