New York Attorney General Letitia James has formally announced she is running for governor, a widely anticipated move from the woman who oversaw an investigation into allegations that former governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed numerous women.
Ms James announced her candidacy on Twitter, saying: “I’m running for Governor of New York because I have the experience, vision, and courage to take on the powerful on behalf of all New Yorkers.”
A campaign video cited the multiple lawsuits she filed against former president Donald Trump’s administration and an investigation into deaths in New York’s nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 62-year-old is the first woman elected as New York’s attorney general and the first black person to serve in the role. She is expected to be a strong challenger against Gov Kathy Hochul, who had been Mr Cuomo’s lieutenant governor, for the Democratic nomination.
Ms Hochul, who is from the Buffalo area, entered office with a reputation as centrist who is working to bolster her ties to New York City, where Ms James’ political support is based.
Ms James was born and raised in Brooklyn and made her first run for City Council as a candidate of the liberal Working Families Party.
Before her bombshell report was released, prompting Mr Cuomo’s resignation, Ms James had been known nationally for her frequent legal tussles with former president Trump.
Since she became attorney general in 2019, her office has investigated Mr Trump’s business affairs and sued the Republican’s administration dozens of times over federal policies on immigration, the environment and other matters.
Ms James also filed a lawsuit accusing the National Rifle Association’s leaders of financial mismanagement, the latest in a string of regulatory actions that have delighted liberals but drawn complaints from Republicans that she has unfairly used her office to target political opponents.
While under public pressure in 2020, Mr Cuomo authorised Ms James to investigate allegations he had sexually harassed several women. The independent investigators she hired to conduct the inquiry released a report in August concluding that there were credible allegations from 11 women, including one aide who said the governor had groped her breast.
Mr Cuomo has attacked Ms James’ report as inaccurate and biased, denied mistreating women and said he resigned in order to avoid subjecting the state to turmoil.
Ms James has dismissed the charge that her investigation was politically motivated, saying Mr Cuomo should take responsibility for his own conduct.