Hochul’s fate: The running mate

Publication: Newsday
By: Dan Janison

In past statewide campaigns, the lieutenant governor’s slot on the ballot was a low-interest affair, or just a footnote. This year it has blown up into a huge problem for Democrats — after their elected lieutenant governor became governor and replaced herself in the second spot with a state senator who would resign seven months later under indictment.

Having the already-nominated Brian Benjamin stuck on the separate ballot for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary is something Gov. Kathy Hochul has every motive to undo. Insider buzz in Albany on Tuesday involved whether and how that could happen.

On the legislative front, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said she spoke with Hochul the night before about legislation allowing Benjamin’s removal in circumstances other than those now in the law — a candidate’s death, or a move out of state, or a nomination for another position.