The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New York Attorney General Letitia James suspends gubernatorial bid

New York Attorney General Letitia James at a news conference at her office on May 21, 2021.
New York Attorney General Letitia James at a news conference at her office on May 21, 2021. (Richard Drew/AP)
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New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced Thursday that she is suspending her bid for governor and will run instead for reelection.

In a statement, James cited the need to finish “a number of important investigations and cases that are underway.”

“I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do,” she said.

James’s announcement came on the same day as reports that she is seeking to depose former president Donald Trump early next year as part of her investigation into potential fraud inside the Trump Organization.

James has requested to take Trump’s testimony on Jan. 7 at her New York office as part of a civil investigation into whether his company committed financial fraud in the valuations of properties to different entities, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

James launched her gubernatorial bid in October and was the highest-profile candidate to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul in what is likely to be a fiercely contested Democratic primary.

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Hochul said she supports James’s decision and looks “forward to continuing our work together to deliver results for all New Yorkers.”

“I respect @TishJames tremendously and admire her commitment to continuing the critically important work she has undertaken in the Attorney General’s office,” Hochul said.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association also threw its support behind James’s reelection bid, describing her as “a battle-tested leader who has fought for consumers, working people, and those in need.”

Last month, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), a three-term congressman who represents Long Island and a small section of Queens, announced he also is running for governor.

Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate, is a candidate in the Democratic primary, as well. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose term ends this year, is flirting with the idea of a gubernatorial run.

On the Republican side, Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), former Westchester County executive Rob Astorino and Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudolph W. Giuliani, are among the declared candidates.

During her tenure as attorney general, James has sued the National Rifle Association and led investigations into Trump and former governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D).

Recent polls had shown Hochul with a wide lead over James and other candidates in the Democratic primary, although a large swath of voters remained undecided.

James was elected attorney general in 2018, the first Black woman to hold that office in New York. Before she won statewide office, James served as New York City public advocate and as a member of the City Council representing parts of Brooklyn.

In August, James’s office released a 165-page report that led to Cuomo’s resignation. The report detailed numerous allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo and found he created a hostile work environment for women in violation of state and federal law.

Mariana Alfaro, Josh Dawsey and Amy B Wang contributed to this report.