Lieutenant governors are like airbags: designed to be ignored except in the case of a crash. Perhaps that’s why so little attention has been paid to the contest that will take place on June 28, when New York’s Democratic voters will pick a nominee (which in this state usually means the eventual winner).
That’s a shame—and not just because New York governors seem unusually crash-prone. (Incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul was herself deployed after Andrew Cuomo’s career as a serial sex pest finally caught up with him; Cuomo’s predecessor, David Paterson, took office after Eliot Spitzer resigned during a prostitution scandal). At least 11 of the state’s lieutenant governors have moved up, including Herbert Lehman (after Franklin Roosevelt became president) and Mario Cuomo. New York is also one of just six states that give the office a separate primary ballot line.
The left should keep its eyes trained on this particular race because of the candidacy of Ana María Archila, a veteran activist who became a national celebrity after confronting Senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol elevator during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Archila, who has been running hard for months and has already secured the Working Families Party line, would be the first out lesbian to win election statewide, as well as the first Latina. Liza Featherstone’s profile in this issue goes into more detail, but Archila’s record as a cofounder of Make the Road New York, one of the most militant and effective immigrant rights groups, has certainly earned her run a close look.