ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy C. Hochul has chosen Brian A. Benjamin, a Democratic state senator from Harlem, to be her lieutenant governor, the second highest-ranking place in New York State, in accordance with an individual accustomed to the choice.
Ms. Hochul, a Democrat from Western New York who was sworn in because the state’s first feminine governor on Tuesday, is predicted to announce the appointment later this week.
The number of Mr. Benjamin, who’s Black, underscored Ms. Hochul’s attempt to diversify her ticket as she mounts her first marketing campaign for governor subsequent yr, selecting a possible working mate who might assist broaden her attraction within the voter-heavy New York Metropolis area.
Mr. Benjamin is the senior assistant majority chief within the State Senate, the place he has been a vocal proponent of legal justice reforms. He ran unsuccessfully for metropolis comptroller earlier this yr, inserting fourth in a crowded Democratic main.
Ms. Hochul’s workplace declined to remark. Mr. Benjamin, 44, who represents a big swath of Higher Manhattan, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
A lieutenant governor turns into governor when the governor dies, resigns or is impeached. She or he additionally serves as appearing governor when the governor is absent or disabled.
However the place, which grew to become vacant because of Ms. Hochul’s ascension after former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s resignation, has historically served a largely ceremonial function, entrusted with few statutory duties in addition to the formality of serving as president of the State Senate.
Over the previous few weeks, Ms. Hochul had indicated that she intended to select someone from New York City. Ms. Hochul, who’s white, approached a handful of metropolis politicians who’re folks of coloration, together with State Senator Jamaal Bailey, a rising star in Bronx politics; Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the chief of Brooklyn’s Democratic Celebration; and Rubén Díaz Jr., the outgoing Bronx borough president.
A graduate of Brown College and Harvard College, Mr. Benjamin labored at Morgan Stanley and was a managing companion at Genesis Corporations, an actual property agency with a concentrate on reasonably priced housing, earlier than coming into politics.
In 2017, he ran for the State Senate seat vacated by Invoice Perkins, who had received a seat within the Metropolis Council. He emerged because the Democratic Celebration’s choose for the seat after a conference vote in March and went on to easily defeat his Republican opponent within the overwhelmingly blue district, assuming workplace that June.
As a senator, Mr. Benjamin has backed efforts to shut Rikers Island and supported laws on a spread of legal justice points, from ending money bail and reforming discovery to ending solitary confinement and reforming parole legal guidelines.
He has additionally sponsored payments to get banks to divest from personal for-profit prisons and create a so-called “rainy day fund” that New York Metropolis might faucet into throughout fiscal emergencies. Mr. Benjamin said earlier this year that he supported the defund the police motion.
Michael Blake, a former assemblyman from the Bronx who endorsed Mr. Benjamin within the comptroller main, confused that he must be acknowledged for his expertise and expertise, not simply how his race and standing amongst Black voters might support Ms. Hochul politically.
“I believe it’s vital to understand that Brian is gifted, and he’s additionally Black,” Mr. Blake mentioned.
“Individuals are all the time listening to expertise even when there isn’t a success,” Mr. Blake added. “He ran for metropolis comptroller — I believe he was essentially the most certified — and misplaced, however on the finish of the day, God had greater plans for him.”
The aggressive Democratic main for comptroller included Corey Johnson, the speaker of the Metropolis Council, and Councilman Brad Lander, who emerged victorious because the standard-bearer of the celebration’s left flank. Mr. Benjamin finished behind Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor who has by no means received elected workplace.
Throughout the main, Mr. Benjamin’s marketing campaign relinquished practically two dozen donations after The City raised questions on their authenticity.
Mr. Benjamin didn’t appear to achieve important traction within the race, maybe elevating questions on what number of votes from New York Metropolis he might assist Ms. Hochul appeal to as a working mate, particularly if the governor faces a main problem from an individual of coloration.
Jumaane Williams, the town’s public advocate, has mentioned he’s actively exploring a run for governor and Letitia James, the state lawyer basic, is taken into account a powerful candidate, despite the fact that she has given no indication that she intends to run.
“Brian didn’t have a profitable run citywide, however that doesn’t imply he received’t have a profitable run statewide,” mentioned Christina Greer, an affiliate professor of political science at Fordham College. “He has a monetary background and will impress Black voters. He would translate properly upstate.”
Mr. Benjamin is an in depth good friend of Keith L.T. Wright, the chairman of the Democratic Celebration in Manhattan. On Wednesday, Mr. Wright praised Ms. Hochul’s selection.
“He’s vibrant, he’s clever and I believe he’ll be an excellent choose,” Mr. Wright mentioned. “I believe he could be somebody who would roll up his sleeves and get to work.”