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New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to run for governor

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is expected to announce that she is running for governor.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is expected to announce that she is running for governor. (Richard Drew/AP)
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New York Attorney General Letitia James is preparing to run for governor, pitting her against Gov. Kathy Hochul in what is likely to be a fiercely contested Democratic primary, according to two people briefed on James’s plans.

James, who could announce her candidacy as soon as Thursday, oversaw the inquiry into the sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) that led to his resignation in August. She is the highest-profile candidate so far to challenge Hochul, who immediately announced she would run for a full term after assuming office. Hochul is New York’s first female governor.

A host of other Democrats are also considering jumping into the race, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate; and U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, whose district is centered on Long Island. If elected, James would be the country’s first Black woman governor.

“Attorney General Letitia James has made a decision regarding the governor’s race,” Kimberly Peeler-Allen, an adviser to James, said in a statement Wednesday. “She will be announcing it in the coming days.”

But James and her allies have been calling elected officials and labor leaders in recent days seeking endorsements ahead of her announcement, one of the people familiar with her plans said.

In August, James released a 165-page report that detailed the numerous allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo and found he created a hostile work environment for women in violation of state and federal law. The probe found that Cuomo harassed 11 women, including a state trooper on the governor’s security detail.

Cuomo has attacked James and the investigation as politically motivated and riddled with errors and distortions, and the news of her run is likely to bring sharp criticism from Cuomo and his advisers.

During her tenure as attorney general, James has also sued the National Rifle Association and led investigations into former president Donald Trump. 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.