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NYS Democrats And GOP Choose Attorney General Candidates

Richard Drew
Republican candidate for attorney general Keith Wofford delivers his remarks at the New York State Republican Convention in New York on Thursday.

Democrats and Republicans, meeting at their state conventions, picked their choices to fill the open seat for state attorney general, following the resignation of Eric Schneiderman over a domestic violence scandal.

Democrats chose New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who says she’ll continue Schneiderman’s work pursuing cases to protect immigrants, consumer rights, and women’s rights against threats by the federal government.

“The attorney general stands at the Vanguard as a firewall of protection and not a wall of exclusion,” James said in her speech. “Because we are confronting nothing short of the biggest challenge to our democracy in the history of this country.”

James quickly shored up enough support to win the nomination, but she’s likely to face a primary challenge from two other female candidates, Leecia Eve, a former counsel to Governor Cuomo, and Zephyr Teachout, the 2014 democratic primary challenger to Cuomo.

If elected, James would be the first African–American and female attorney general.

Republicans chose Keith Wofford, a New York City attorney in private practice who grew up in Buffalo. Wofford is also African-American. He told delegates he oversees a staff of 320 lawyers, and specializes in obtaining money owed to creditors, including major banks, from mortgage companies and utilities.

He says those skills would help him be an effective AG. And he implicitly criticized former Attorney General Schneiderman’s multiple lawsuits against the Trump administration.  

“We need an attorney general who knows how to recover the billions of dollars of taxpayer money that have been stolen through waste, fraud and abuse by our elected officials in Albany,” Wofford said. “ We need an attorney general who knows the difference between a good lawsuit and a lousy one.” 

Wofford says another top priority would be fighting corruption in Albany, which he says is rampant.

Schneiderman, who resigned May 8, has been accused of physically abusing multiple women that he dated. He has denied the allegations.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.