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Lieutenant Governor of New York
Seal of New York.svg
Seal of New York
Richard Ravitch

since July 8, 2009
Style The Honorable
Term length Four years, no term limit
Inaugural holder Pierre Van Cortlandt
Formation New York State Constitution
Succession First

The Lieutenant Governor of New York is the second highest ranking official in the government of New York. The lieutenant governor is elected on a ticket with the governor for a four year term. Official duties dictated to the lieutenant governor under the present state constitution are to serve as President of the State Senate, serve as acting governor in the absence of the governor from the state or the disability of the governor, or to become governor in the event of the governor's death, impeachment or resignation. Additional statutory duties of the lieutenant governor are to serve on the Court of Impeachments, the State Defense Council, and on the Board of Trustees of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

The office is currently held by Richard Ravitch who was appointed by Governor David Paterson. Paterson himself was lieutenant governor until the resignation of Eliot Spitzer. After a succession of several temporary presidents of the State Senate as acting lieutenant governors, Paterson appointed for the first time in New York history a person to fill the vacancy, a right which had been unknown to exist heretofore, but which was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals on September 22, 2009.

Most lieutenant governors take on other duties as assigned to them by the governor. For example, Mary Donohue took on duties in the areas of small business, school violence, and land use planning, along with serving as a surrogate speaker for the governor in upstate New York. Donohue's predecessor, Betsy McCaughey Ross worked on Medicare and education policy, prior to her falling out with Gov. George Pataki. Democrat Stan Lundine, who served under Gov. Mario Cuomo was active on technology and housing issues during his two terms in office.

While governor and lieutenant governor are elected by a single joint vote in the general election, they run separately in the primaries. In 1982, Mario Cuomo won the Democratic nomination for governor, but his running mate H. Carl McCall lost the lieutenant governor nomination to Alfred DelBello. DelBello was elected with Cuomo, but resigned in 1985 complaining that Cuomo did not give him anything to do.

McCaughey Ross had been elected on a ticket with Pataki in 1994 but soon broke with him on state policy. He dropped her from his 1998 re-election ticket and she became a Democrat and ran for governor on the Liberal ticket.

Prior to Paterson succeeding Eliot Spitzer on March 17, 2008, the last lieutenant governor to succeed to the governorship was Malcolm Wilson following the 1973 resignation of Nelson Rockefeller. Mario Cuomo was the last lieutenant governor to be elected governor.


Recent campaigns for Lieutenant Governor


1994 election

In the 1994 statewide election, Lt. Gov. Stan Lundine sought reelection on the Democratic ticket with Gov. Mario Cuomo. Lieutenant Governor Lundine was unopposed for renomination on the Democratic ticket. In the Republican primary, academic Betsy McCaughey was the only candidate, as nominated by the Republican State Convention. Ms. McCaughey was selected as a running mate by State Sen. George Pataki. Pataki reportedly also considered sofa bed heiress Bernadette Castro and Assembly Minority Leader Clarence Rappalya as possible running mates as well. The Pataki/McCaughey ticket defeated the Cuomo/Lundine ticket in the general election.

1998 election

In 1997, following a falling out for most of their term, Gov. George Pataki dropped Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross from the ticket. Pataki embarked on a year long process to select a new running mate for lieutenant governor. After reportedly considering State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro, State Sen. Mary Lou Rath and Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, Pataki nominated Judge Mary Donohue as his running mate. Judge Donohue was unopposed for the Republican nomination. Several candidates entered the race for the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination. State Sen. Anthony Nanula of Buffalo reportedly considered the race and then decided against running. Plattsburgh Mayor Clyde Rabideau, Brighton Town Supervisor Sandra Frankel, Buffalo Councilwoman Barbra Kavenugh, and attorney Charlie King of Rockland County announced their candidacies for the nomination. Councilwoman Kavanaugh withdrew from the race at the Democratic State Convention. Mayor Rabideau was selected as a running mate by New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Supervisor Frankel was selected as a running mate by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes during the state convention. Mr. King received enough support to qualify for the September primary ballot and continued his race. Lieutenant Governor McCaughey Ross, who was running for governor, reportedly considered Assemblyman Sam Hoyt as a running mate. As the Liberal Party nominee, Lieutenant Governor McCaughey Ross was paired with Jonathan Reiter as a running mate. Independence Party nominee Tom Golisano ran with Laureen Oliver. The Green Party nominee actor Al Lewis ran with Alice Green.

Supervisor Frankel won the Democratic lieutenant governor primary and was paired in the general election with Speaker Vallone. The Pataki/Donohue ticket defeated the Vallone/Frankel and the Golisano/Oliver tickets.

2002 election

Reports in early 2002 said that Governor Pataki was considered dropping Lieutenant Governor Donohue from the ticket and asking her to run for New York State Attorney General instead. The reports said he had considered New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels and Erie County Executive Joel Giambra as replacement running mates, but eventually Lieutenant Governor Donohue would join Governor Pataki again on the Republican ticket.

The Democratic field started with 1998 nominee Sandra Frankel, 1998 candidate Charlie King, businessman Dennis Mehiel, and former New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jane Steiner Hoffman. Commissioner Hoffman dropped out of the race for medical reasons, and Supervisor Frankel dropped out for party unity. State Comptroller Carl McCall selected Mr. Mehiel as his running mate and former HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo selected Mr. King as a running mate. A week before the September primary, Secretary Cuomo and Mr. King withdrew from their primaries and endorsed the McCall/Mehiel ticket.

The Independence Party had a contested primary battle for lieutenant governor. Lieutenant Governor Donohue faced an Independence Party member aligned with gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano in the primary, but won the primary, while Governor Pataki lost the Independence primary for governor to Golisano. This made Donohue the running mate for both Pataki and Golisano in November.

The Green Party nominated Jennifer Daniels for Lt. Governor on a ticket with Stanley Aronowitz.

The Pataki/Donohue ticket defeated the McCall/Mehiel and the Golisano/Donohue tickets in November.

2006 election

Lieutenant Governor Donohue announced that she would not run for a third term in 2006. The race to succeed her drew eight major party candidates. State Senate Minority Leader David Paterson of Harlem won the Democratic nomination. Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef won the Republican nomination. The Green Party candidate was Alison Duncan.

Former candidates for the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination were attorney Leecia Eve of Buffalo, Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli of Nassau County, and Dr. Jon Cohen of Nassau County. Former candidates for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor were New York Secretary of State Christopher Jacobs of Buffalo, Town Supervisor Tim Demler of Wheatfield, and former State Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffmann of Madison County.

The Spitzer/Paterson ticket defeated the Faso/Vanderhoef ticket in the election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on November 7.

2008 vacancy and 2009 appointment

After Lieutenant Governor David Paterson succeeded to the governorship of New York on March 17, 2008, the office of lieutenant governor became vacant. The duties of lieutenant governor were then performed successively by Temporary Presidents of the State Senate Joseph Bruno, Dean Skelos, Malcolm Smith and, during the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis, Pedro Espada Jr.

On July 8, 2009, prior to the recapture of Senate control by the Democrats, Governor Paterson appointed Richard Ravitch to the position of Lieutenant Governor to resolve the month-long political stalemate in the State Senate.[1] However, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo warned Paterson before Ravitch's selection that such an appointment would be unconstitutional.[1] Litigation concerning the appointment's constitutionality was filed in New York State's courts by the Republican Senate caucus on July 9. A preliminary ruling by Justice William R. LaMarca on July 21 upheld AG Cuomo. On August 20, a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division (2nd Dept.) rejected unanimously the appointment. However, on September 22, in a "stunning reversal," the New York Court of Appeals, ruled in a 4-3 decision that Paterson's appointment was constitutional.[2]


List of Lieutenant Governors

For a list of Lieutenant Governors, see List of Governors of New York.

See also

External links


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