Brian Benjamin Is Kathy Hochul’s Pick for N.Y. Lieutenant Governor
The competitive Democratic primary for comptroller included Corey Johnson, the speaker of the City Council, and Councilman Brad Lander, who emerged victorious as the standard-bearer of the party’s left flank. Mr. Benjamin finished behind Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor who has never won elected office.
During the primary, Mr. Benjamin’s campaign relinquished nearly two dozen donations after The City raised questions about their authenticity.
Mr. Benjamin did not seem to gain significant traction in the race, perhaps raising questions about how many votes from New York City he could help Ms. Hochul attract as a running mate, especially if the governor faces a primary challenge from a person of color.
Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, has said he is actively exploring a run for governor and Letitia James, the state attorney general, is considered a strong candidate, even though she has given no indication that she intends to run.
“Brian did not have a successful run citywide, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a successful run statewide,” said Christina Greer, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University. “He has a financial background and could galvanize Black voters. He would translate well upstate.”
Mr. Benjamin is a close friend of Keith L.T. Wright, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Manhattan; the support of the party machine could help Mr. Benjamin, and potentially Ms. Hochul, in a primary next year.
On Wednesday, Mr. Wright praised Ms. Hochul’s choice.
“He’s bright, he’s intelligent and I think he’ll be a great pick,” Mr. Wright said. “I think he would be someone who would roll up his sleeves and get to work.”