Letitia James to run for governor of New York
NEW YORK (AP) – New York Attorney General Letitia James is considering running for governor, according to three people directly familiar with her plans who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
James will enter the race as a formidable Democratic nomination contestant just months after he released a damning report that ousted Andrew Cuomo from office in a sexual harassment scandal.
The three people familiar with his plans were not allowed to speak publicly. James is expected to make an announcement later this week, according to one of the people.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a campaign advisor to James, said in a statement: “Attorney General Letitia James has made a decision regarding the governor’s race. She will announce it in the next few days.
James, 63, is New York’s first female attorney general and the first black person to hold the post. With a power base in New York City, she is poised to be a major threat to Governor Kathy Hochul, who had been Cuomo’s lieutenant governor.
Hochul, a native of the Buffalo area, came into office with a reputation as a political centrist, but struggled to win over progressives in New York City, making numerous appearances in the city during his first months in office.
James, who was born and raised in Brooklyn and made her first run for city council as a candidate for the Working Families Liberal Party, would have the opposite task of winning over the upstate Democrats who may be more conservative .
Prior to this year, James was best known nationally for his frequent legal feuds with former President Donald Trump.
Since becoming attorney general in 2019, her office has investigated Trump’s business affairs and sued the Republican administration dozens of times over federal policies on immigration, the environment, and others. Questions.
James also filed a lawsuit accusing National Rifle Association executives of financial mismanagement, the latest in a series of regulatory moves that have thrilled the Liberals but drew complaints from Republicans that she unfairly used her office to target political opponents.
Under public pressure, Cuomo last year allowed James to investigate allegations that he sexually harassed several women. Independent investigators she hired to lead the investigation released a report in August finding there were credible allegations from 11 women, including an assistant who said the governor groped her breast.
Cuomo and his political advisers called the work report unfair and inaccurate, designed to kick him out of a job James coveted. But he resigned from his post in August, saying the state could not afford the distraction of an impeachment fight.
James dismissed the charge that his investigation was politically motivated, saying Cuomo should take responsibility for his own conduct.
James’ announcement will set the stage for a competitive race featuring Hochul battling to keep the job she got when Cuomo stepped down, and a host of other potential candidates who could undermine some of the potential strength of the attorney general in the north of the state.
New York City public attorney Jumaane Williams and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have both said they are considering a run. Two other potential Democratic candidates hail from Long Island: Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone and U.S. Representative Thomas Suozzi, who lives in Nassau County.
Cuomo could also be a factor in the race. After he stepped down, he dipped into his campaign funds to pay the salaries of spokespersons and lawyers who spent months undermining James’ integrity on television and social media.
Republican candidates include US Representative Lee Zeldin, a Trump-aligned Long Island congressman; Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, who lost to Cuomo in 2014.
Primary elections take place in June and general elections in November 2022.
Prior to becoming attorney general, James was the public attorney for New York City, an elected position where she acted as a sort of city ombudsman. Previously, she was a member of the city council. She worked as a public defender and deputy attorney general. She graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx and received her law degree from Howard University in Washington.
Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.