Forgoing the glitter of an in-person campaign launch, Attorney General Letitia James jumped into the race for governor with a 91-second video.
James will take on fellow Democrat Kathy Hochul, who took over as governor in August after Andrew Cuomo resigned because of a sexual harassment scandal.
Soon after her announcement, James received an endorsement from Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen.
Hochul immediately announced her intention to seek a full term next year, and already has a head start on fundraising. But James also has a record to run on, having served as attorney general since 2019. In her video, she talks about going after former President Trump, someone deeply unpopular in the Democratic Party.
James’ office was in charge of the investigation that concluded that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo resigned in August and was replaced by Hochul.
James has denied any motive behind the report other than finding the truth, and she made a point of distancing herself from Cuomo on that issue.
“I’ve held accountable those who mistreat and harass women in the workplace, no matter how powerful the offenders," James said.
James became attorney general in 2019 after defeating Zephyr Teachout, Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve in the Democratic primary in September 2018, and Keith Wofford in the general election that November.
Prior to serving as New York's attorney general, she served as New York City public advocate from 2014 to 2018. She also served in the New York City Council from 2004 to 2013.
Hochul says she is ready for the challenge.
“This is my 13th election. People will always run. They will have their own reasons. And I know how to run campaigns,” Hochul said. “There will be plenty of times to talk about — and you’ll see my strategy, and what we’ll do. And we’ll be very engaged at some point, but I’ve been on the job a little over just 60 days. I have a lot of work to do, a lot of issues that need to be addressed. And that’s what voters and constituents want me focused on. Not be involved in politics.”
The Democratic primary in June could end up a crowded field. Other potential Democratic candidates in the race include current city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who on Wednesday formally opened a campaign account; Long Island and Queens Rep. Tom Suozzi; and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also not ruled out a run.