New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday she will not ask former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin to move out of state following his resignation as Democratic officials continue to grapple with a way of removing him from the primary ballot.
Benjamin stepped down last week after facing a five-count corruption indictment stemming from allegations he received campaign donations for his bid for New York City comptroller in exchange for state grant funding. He also suspended his short-lived campaign for a full term as Hochul’s second-in-command, but it’s too close to the June primary contests for Benjamin’s name to be taken off the ballot.
The only ways of disqualifying Benjamin under state law now would be his death, his nomination for a second office or moving out of state. Benjamin is allowed to travel to parts of Virginia and Georgia as part of the bonding agreement with federal prosecutors.
Sources told Spectrum News that Benjamin was asked about relocating and he refused.
Hochul and some state lawmakers have floated the possibility of amending state law so that a candidate for office facing criminal charges could be removed from the ballot, though state Senate Democrats have already said they would not be passing such legislation this year. Primary elections are June 28, with early voting starting days before that.
Running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor are Ana Maria Archila, the preferred running mate of gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams, and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi's candidate, Diana Reyna.
Hochul has not appointed a lieutenant governor replacement for Benjamin.