Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado fended off a last-minute challenge from progressive hopeful Ana María Archila to win the Democratic nomination for a full term in office on Tuesday. Archila was endorsed last week by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it wasn’t enough to topple the 45-year-old incumbent, who is headed to the general election as the running mate of Governor Kathy Hochul.
New York politics over the past year has been largely a story about the office of lieutenant governor, following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation last summer that elevated Hochul to the state’s top office. She subsequently selected Brian Benjamin, a former state senator from Harlem, to serve as No. 2, but he was arrested and hit with federal corruption charges in April related to his unsuccessful campaign for city comptroller a year earlier. Benjamin denied the allegations, but ultimately resigned from his position. Representative Tom Suozzi, who challenged Hochul for the Democratic nomination, lashed Hochul for poorly vetting Benjamin — a complaint shared by other members of her own party.
After weeks of speculation and negotiations with Albany lawmakers to approve the removal of Benjamin’s name from the finalized primary ballot, Hochul announced that she had selected as her running mate Delgado, who represented the 19th district in Congress, which now spans several counties following redistricting, including Broome and Ulster. Hochul faced criticism from fellow Democrats for pulling a Democratic congressman from a competitive district at a time when the party’s control of the House is in danger this fall. Delgado was expected to face a difficult reelection campaign against a Republican, who is seeking to take back the seat the GOP lost three years ago.
Following Benjamin’s sudden exit from the race and his swift replacement with Delgado, Archila began racking up endorsements from both state and city leaders, culminating with Ocasio-Cortez’s last week. Ultimately, Delgado was able to win thanks to his incumbent position, television ads introducing him to voters statewide, and endorsements by organized labor.