[Editor’s note: This week’s edition goes to press just as the news about Rep. Delgado is breaking; we offer here a brief analysis of the situation as it stands on the morning of May 3.]
For Otsego County, Governor Kathy Hochul’s May 3 announcement appointing Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new second-in-command in Albany is nothing short of politically seismic — a move that could send aftershocks throughout the entire state and even into Washington, D.C.
Certainly Rep. Delgado was a Washington up-and-comer, an important part of the Democratic Party’s hopes to keep its majority in the 2022 mid-term elections. That he was pitted against a popular Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, in an electoral district whose boundaries hang in the balance of a federal mediator, might have had something to do with his decision to take the offer.
Political machinations notwithstanding, Governor Hochul’s choice is a wise one. Rep. Delgado has proven himself to be a tireless and energetic voice for Otsego County and his district as a whole. Smart, approachable, and affable, when he shows up at an event or to tour a business, he shows up with good questions and displays a genuine interest in the issues at hand.
Surprised as we were to read the announcement on May 3, on reflection, we think Rep. Delgado is an excellent choice for Lieutenant Governor. In Albany, he succeeds Brian Benjamin, who resigned last month after the feds picked him up on a handful of corruption charges. New York has learned the hard way that the office of LG is more than ribbon-cutting ceremonial work; governors Hochul and David Paterson both rose to their office after their respective bosses resigned under curious circumstances. In a state bruised repeatedly by political corruption at the highest level, Rep. Delgado brings a breath of fresh air to a stale Capitol.
Rep. Delgado brings to the position an equanimity sorely lacking in Albany these days — an ability to listen to both sides, measure the discussion, engage the participants. We think he’ll be an effective and stabilizing
addition to an administration currently floundering amid a series of political and policy slip-ups.
Practicality aside, he’s a great political choice, too. Pundits will note that a Hochul/Delgado ticket presents an interesting and — at least in modern times — an unprecedented choice for New Yorkers. Two upstaters, two (relatively) moderate Democrats in a party that — like their Republican counterparts — is torn by fringe voices that tend to choke all the air out of a reasonable debate. We expect voices from the Working Families Party, for example, to decry the choice — he’s not downstate enough, he’s not ‘progressive’ enough, he’s not whatever enough it would take to please those who seem so impossible to please.
Rep. Delgado is, however, a commanding presence on the campaign trail. We think he will do in the whole of New York what he has done in Otsego County throughout his term in Congress — visit everywhere, get to know everyone by his or her first name, command the room without dominating the conversation.
While we wait at press time for news as to who will take his place in the race for the 19th congressional district, we are reminded of a thought from Albany Times-Union columnist Chris Churchill not long after Mr. Molinaro announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. Two nice guys, he wrote, a rarity in politics these days. We agree with Mr. Churchill’s personal assessment and look forward to Lieutenant Governor Delgado imparting his personal charisma and professional comportment in a New York arena sorely in need of decency.