New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference, to announce criminal justice reform in New York City, May 21, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday that she is running for governor in 2022.
James’s candidacy, which was expected, sets up a primary contest against Gov. Kathy Hochul, another Democrat, who intends to seek election on her own after assuming office on the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo resigned two months ago after James issued the results of an investigation that concluded he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including current and former staffers.
Cuomo was charged Thursday with a misdemeanor sex-crime complaint that alleges he forcibly touched a woman last Dec. 7 in the governor’s Executive Mansion in Albany.
If elected, the 63-year-old Brooklyn resident James would be the first Black woman to be governor of a U.S. state. She had served less than one full term as attorney general, the state’s top lawyer, having won election in 2018.
She previously was the first woman of color to win citywide elected office in New York City, as the public advocate.
As attorney general, James also has overseen an investigation of the Trump Organization, the company owned by former President Donald Trump and run by his two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
James, in her announcement, said, “As I’ve traveled all around New York state, I have witnessed too many working families struggling to make ends meet, and it’s clear that the status quo just won’t do.”
“New Yorkers need a governor who isn’t afraid to stand up to powerful interests on behalf of the vulnerable,” James said.
A former public defender, James represented Brooklyn’s 35th Council District in the New York City Council for 10 years, before winning the race for public advocate.