‘Stay tuned’: AG Letitia James tells Dem leaders on when she will decide gov run
She’s got them on the edge of their seats.
“Stay tuned..,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James wryly told a group of Democrats Thursday night, heavily hinting she’s being drafted to challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul in next year’s Democratic 2022 primary — and seriously considering the move.
“Speaking of elections, I know many of you might be wondering about my future plans. Just saying,’” she teased at the close of a 30-minute speech to a sold-out crowd of nearly 200, hosted by the Ulster County Democratic Committee dinner at the Wiltwyck Golf Club in Kingston, according to a recording obtained by The Post.
“The question for me really boils down to this: What is the best way that I can make transformational change in the state of New York? That is the question and the issue that I struggle with each and every day,” she mulled aloud.
“I love what I do. I love serving as the Attorney General of the great state of New York. But the question, again, is: can I make more change?”
It’s the second time this week the powerful Democrat — who recently sank the gubernatorial term of disgraced, ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the release of her bombshell sexual harassment report — has raised the idea publicly that she could throw her hat in the ring and run for governor.
“I don’t know the answer. People have been coming up to me left and right, one way or the other. But that day is coming very, very soon when I need to make a decision,” she added, drawing whistles and a ‘yes!’ from the crowd.
“So just stay with me and pray with me…and stay tuned!”
James delivered a campaign-style speech to a group of business and civic leaders Wednesday, laying out a platform for how she would upend state government and listing a litany of her accomplishments in her current role.
She again took to task criticisms from Cuomo’s now-exiled aides who have recently been attacking the credibility report — arguing she released the analysis because she sought to run for governor — redoubling her defense that she maintained independence throughout the process.
“That’s why it was so important to stand up and to basically protect young women. These young women who went to Albany because they believed in public service, when they came into my office, and they told me about the fact that Albany was toxic…how they were harassed,” she said.
“I believe them, because they were specific. They gave me concrete examples. And everyone in Albany, every politician that I knew said, “yeah, it was like that Tish”, but it was these young women marched in, gave me the facts, gave me the evidence, worked with the independent attorneys.”
“They’re the heroes, not me, and not Mr. Cuomo, we need to keep our eye on those 11 women. Those are the women who obviously made a difference in the state of New York,” she continued.
“There are individuals, and one in particular, and his allies were trying to discredit and trying to undermine this investigation, and it will argue that I’m that I politicized it. No, I put my head down. It was all about the facts, and all about the evidence.”
James’ consultants have been calling around to potential donors and supporters gauging their interest should she launch a gubernatorial bid in recent weeks — and even James herself has been personally making calls to county leaders and state lawmakers requesting meetings, sources said.
James delivered a massive blow to Cuomo’s political career in August when she released her bombshell sexual harassment report including allegations from multiple women that he sexually harassed them. Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the report was released.
Although the report didn’t bring any charges against him, since then at least five district attorneys are now pursuing their own separate criminal investigations and a criminal complaint has been filed by Cuomo accuser Brittany Commisso — who accused Cuomo of groping her during the workday while she was in the Executive Mansion — with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
That investigation is ongoing and several subpoenas have been served to the Mansion and state Capitol Building to obtain records related to the case, The Post revealed.
Other 2022 gubernatorial hopefuls include New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will leave office later this fall as he is term limited and left-leaning New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams announced he opened an exploratory committee to throw his hat in the ring earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Hochul has been fundraising at a breakneck speed, attending fundraisers during the work day in between meetings and press events, as well as evenings and weekends ahead of next year.
Attendees in the crowd Thursday also received fond shoutouts from James, including elected officials and Albany politicians state Sen. James Skoufis (D-Newburgh), state Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston), Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D-Kingston), as well as former one-term state Sen. Jen Metzer, and now state Senate appointee on the newly assembled Board of Cannabis Management who James dubbed “the marijuana queen.”