New York AG Tish James officially joins race for governor

By Published On: October 29th, 2021Categories: Capitol Notes

New York Attorney General Letitia James made the news of her bid for governor official on Friday.

The Brooklyn Democrat’s announcement consisted of an 83-second campaign video, which came a few days after word began leaking that she would challenge incumbent Kathy Hochul for the Democratic nomination next year. The video highlighted her work as attorney general, including a joke about the number of times her office sued the Trump administration, and espouses the idea that her guiding principle in public life is to “stand up to the powerful on behalf of the vulnerable.”

“I’m running for governor of New York because I have the experience, vision, and courage to take on the powerful on behalf of all New Yorkers,” reads the caption on YouTube accompanying her video.

The campaign launch comes in the wake of New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams filing paperwork to officially launch his own campaign for governor, which the Brooklyn Democrat had been exploring for about a month. It’s unclear whether Williams will remain in the race, as there was some speculation that he might bow out if James joined the field.

Other Democrats potentially considering joining the fray are outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

A recent Siena College Research Institute poll showed Hochul was well positioned to fend off potential challengers for the party’s nomination, whether in a crowded field or in a one-on-one match with James. The findings should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as the party’s June primary is still a long ways away and the survey used registered Democrats, as opposed to likely Democratic primary voters.

The decision by James to run for governor could begin a game of musical chairs in Albany, as it opens up the Democratic nomination for state attorney general. Zephyr Teachout, who lost a crowded 2018 Democratic attorney general primary to James, has already said she’ll run for the party’s nomination if it’s an open seat and Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, a Queens Democrat, told The Capitol Pressroom that he was exploring a run if James wasn’t running. Other potential contenders for the state attorney general job include Sen. Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat.