A replacement for ex-Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin in office or on the ballot is yet to be made, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday in a radio interview with WNYC.
At the same time, Hochul called the corruption allegations facing Benjamin disappointing while also presenting an opportunity for a "reset" in her administration.
Hochul's comments on The Brian Lehrer Show on Wednesday morning were her most expansive since the resignation of Benjamin on Tuesday hours after a criminal indictment was unsealed. Benjamin faces five counts of bribery and fraud stemming from allegations he steered a state grant in exchange for campaign donations to his campaign for New York City comptroller.
Benjamin has also been accused of lying on a vetting form when he was being considered for the lieutenant governor's office. He has entered a not guilty plea.
"I made the best decision I could with the information I had at that point in time," Hochul said of her selection of Benjamin last year following her elevation to the governor's office. "It was very disappointing for me, personally. But we live to see another day."
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Hochul also brushed aside rumors she may appoint former New York City Council Member Diana Reyna, who is the preferred running mate of her rival for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi.
"There's been absolutely no decisions made," Hochul said.
In a news conference with Suozzi, Reyna appeared to close the door on the scenario as well.
"Right now we have a path to victory," she said. "Tom and I are a ticket and we're working toward making sure that people trust Tom and I for the job that needs to happen this instant in the state of New York."
A more complicated and less straightforward concern is replacing Benjamin on the statewide ballot. Democrats will begin voting in the coming weeks for the primary election, and Benjamin for now remains on the ballot. He suspended his campaign following his resignation.
Hochul acknowledged an option for Benjamin's disqualification would be to move him out of state. Federal prosecutors have allowed him to travel to Virginia or Georgia while he awaits trial.
But the laws surrounding a replacement for a candidate on the ballot after they have accepted a nomination by a party are narrow as well as complex in New York. Hochul said she would be in favor of reviewing how to change the law at some point.
"The laws are very complicated," she said. "It will all be clear when we dive into our options here."