New York now has a Democratic gubernatorial primary for next year.
On Friday, state Attorney General Letitia James formally announced what many had been expecting – that she will run for governor. Her announcement on Twitter included an 83-second video detailing some of her accomplishments as attorney general.
James rose to prominence over the summer after she presided over an independent investigation into sexual harassment claims against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The damning report served as the tipping point for the disgraced governor, who faced other inquiries as well, to step down in August.
The Brooklyn native never mentions Cuomo specifically in the video, but she said her career has been based on standing up “to the powerful on behalf of the vulnerable.”
“I’ve held accountable those who mistreat and harass women in the workplace, no matter how powerful the offenders,” she said.
A month ago, James gave a speech to members of A Better New York that left many with the impression she was running for governor.
The announcement comes one day after a criminal complaint was filed against Cuomo in an Albany court on the charge of forcible touching, a class A misdemeanor. The charge involved one of the 11 women whose complaints were considered credible by the independent investigation.
It was a coincidence Cuomo’s spokesman pointed out on social media.
“When’s the Craig Apple endorsement coming?” Rich Azzopardi tweeted, referring to the Albany County sheriff.
Cuomo was succeeded by Kathy Hochul, his lieutenant governor. Hochul has already said she plans to run for a full term next year.
James, who turned 63 earlier this month, served 10 years in the New York City Council from January 2004 to December 2013 before succeeding current Mayor Bill de Blasio as the city’s public advocate, a position that serves as a watchdog or ombudsman for the residents. After five years in that role, she became the state’s 67th attorney general.
She’s also the first Black and the first female to be elected by New Yorkers.
James may not be the only challenger to Hochul. Others who have been floated as possible candidates include de Blasio, who cannot run again for mayor, and current Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, de Blasio said he respects James a lot but added that her decision would not influence his.
“My decisions are based on my desire to serve the people of this city, this state in every way I can,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to be moving on my own timeline in my own way.”
A Siena College Research Institute poll of 801 registered New York voters earlier this month found Hochul hold a double-digit percentage point lead in a five-candidate race and a four-candidate race. In a five-person race with Cuomo on the ballot too, James placed third at 14%, behind Cuomo’s 17% and Hochul’s 31%.
In a four-person race with de Blasio and Williams, Hochul leads James 39-20. Head-to-head, it’s Hochul at 47% to James at 31.
This article was originally posted on New York AG Letitia James announces run for governor