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New York AG ends run for governor, pivots to reelection bid

Citing the pending cases and investigations handled by her office, Attorney General Letitia James said she intended “to finish the job.”

(CN) — Almost six weeks after Letitia James said she would run for governor, the attorney general of New York announced she had different plans.

Posting on Twitter Thursday, James said her campaigning would pivot from a run for the governor’s mansion to a reelection bid. The Democrat said her decision was because of unfished work in the attorney general’s office.

“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general” James wrote. “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.”

Hours after James made her noon announcement, her campaign website was not updated and still showed her message about running for New York governor.

Last week, James was campaigning for governor. On Friday, her Facebook page touted an endorsement she received from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

She was considered one of the main contenders for the Executive Mansion, running against Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, who is finishing out the term of Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo resigned in August after James released the results of an investigation that found the former governor sexually harassed 11 women, a conclusion that Cuomo disputes and called “politically motivated.”

When she debuted her run for governor in an 83-second video six weeks ago, James leaned heavily on her record as attorney general, a position she has held since January 2019.

The video referenced the suit she filed in August 2020 seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging the firearm-rights organization was run by individuals who used the nonprofit for personal gain.

In the video, James pointed to her work negotiating a series of settlements with companies that manufactured opioids to bring in funds into the Empire State to combat the opioid crisis.

She also said she had sued the Trump administration more than six dozen times.

James’ announcement comes as the attorney general is reportedly asking former President Donald Trump to sit for a deposition regarding his business practices.

The timing was not lost on a former prosecutor who had litigated against Trump in the past.

“My bet: Tish determined she couldn’t prosecute Trump and run for governor at the same time,” tweeted Tristan Snell, a former New York assistant attorney general who helped bring a suit against Trump University.

As an incumbent, James enters a field of candidates who are already contending for her seat. The field includes Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who unsuccessfully ran against James for the AG spot in 2018, and Dan Goldman, the lead counsel in the investigation for the first impeachment of Trump.

Republican candidate for attorney general Michael Henry said in a statement recent polling showed voters were not supporting James’ gubernatorial campaign. The commercial litigator who has also represented Chinese asylum seekers said James had little to show for her time as attorney general.

“As attorney general, James has been more bluster than action on corruption, sexual harassment and Covid in the former governor’s office and issued reports that contained no criminal referrals,” Henry said. “People do not want an Attorney Grandstander out to grab a headline and walk away.”

The James campaign did not return a request for comment.

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