Is Attorney General Letitia James eyeing New York governor’s seat?

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2021 at 7:31 AM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - We are just about a year away from the 2022 elections and there could be a battle for New York’s top seat.

Attorney General Letitia James is being tossed around as a possible candidate for governor after her sexual harassment investigation brought down former governor Andrew Cuomo.

James was in Plattsburgh Friday and I asked her about this. She said she wasn’t there to talk about politics but to bring money to the people who deserve it; she’s on a monthlong tour handing out checks from the Big Pharma settlement. But political analysts say that tour could be about more than the money.

James was in Plattsburgh Friday to talk about the ongoing opioid crisis.

“There is no amount of money that can ever replace the loss of a loved one,” said James, D-N.Y. Attorney General.

In 2019, she took on Big Pharma and won. The settlement brings $1.2 billion to the state, including $14.5 million for the North Country and $1.2 million for Clinton County.

“So this is a good opportunity for Letitia James to demonstrate how effectively she’s working for our local counties,” said Harvey Schantz, a political scientist at SUNY-Plattsburgh.

Nearly $550,000 is also going to Essex County to help the county combat the opioid crisis.

James is on a monthlong tour around the state, including multiple stops around the North Country.

Of the last three elected governors, two held the attorney general’s office prior to running.

The AG is one of only four elected statewide executive positions, which gives candidates broader name recognition and a chance to showcase their ability to work for the state as a whole.

“The attorney general, in recent years, has become the launching pad to governor,” Schantz said.

James took office in 2019. Along with getting pharmaceutical companies to pay for their role in the opioid crisis, James issued the damning report that led to the resignation of Andrew Cuomo.

Making the decision to run for governor could be a difficult choice.

“Is running for governor worth giving up the seat of attorney general? That’s not an easy decision,” Schantz said.

In a one-on-one interview with the attorney general, I asked about her plan.

Reporter Kelly O’Brien: Discussions of a go for governor, is that something you are considering?

Attorney General Letitia James: You know, I thank everyone for thinking of me, for considering me, for urging me, for pushing me, but right now I’m focused on saving lives and providing resources to those who, unfortunately, are in the throes of a crisis.

She didn’t say yes but she didn’t say no when it comes to a run for governor.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced she plans to run for governor in 2022. If other Democrats such as James were to run, then there will be a Democratic primary in the state.

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