Dems in Race for New York AG Withdraw After Letitia James Announces Re-Election Campaign

Following New York Attorney General Letitia James's decision to suspend her campaign for governor last week to seek reelection in her current position, the five Democrats who had begun campaigns to succeed her in the 2022 election for attorney general have withdrawn from the race.

James announced her campaign in October, two months after the investigation she led into alleged sexual misconduct by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo caused him to resign.

She said she would rather remain focused on the current investigations of her office, including various probes into the National Rifle Association and the financial dealings of former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.

"I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general," James, 63, said in a statement. "There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do."

James was expected to be a formidable opponent for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Cuomo after his resignation, as James has been a public figure since she assumed the position of attorney general in 2019 with various comments about the lawsuits against the NRA and Trump.

She has been vocal in recent weeks saying Hochul should take more significant measures to slow the spread of COVID.

"All I can say is, I respect her tremendously. Always have," Hochul said Thursday "This is a very bad day for Donald Trump and the NRA."

The lawsuit led by James against the NRA into alleged financial mismanagement and violation of state laws and the organization's bylaws caused the group to attempt to file for bankruptcy and relocate to Texas to avoid the lawsuit, according to James' office.

In the days following her announcement, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, state Sen. Selley Mayer and former Congressional lawyer Daniel Goldman said they would end their campaigns.

The final two candidates, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel and former state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Mario Vullo, announced the end of their campaigns Monday.

Letitia James, New York Attorney General Race
New York Attorney General Letitia James removes her mask at the beginning of a news conference at her office, in New York, Friday, May 21, 2021. The other five candidates for New York attorney general have suspended their campaigns following the announcement from James last week that she is suspending her campaign for New York governor and seeking re-election for her current position. Richard Drew/Associated Press File

She could still face a challenger in the general election.

Three Republicans have registered to run so far, state campaign finance records show, including commercial litigation attorney Michael Henry, former state housing commissioner Joseph Holland and former U.S. General Services Administration regional administrator John Sarcone III.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.