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Letitia James wins New York attorney general race

James' victory opens the door for a special election to fill the role of New York City public advocate in 2019.

Letitia James, New York City's public advocate, won

Letitia James, New York City's public advocate, won the race for New York attorney general on Tuesday. Pictured above, James attends a town hall meeting at PS 48 on Staten Island on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James will be the state’s next attorney general after beating Republican challenger Keith Wofford Tuesday night.

James, who will be New York’s first black attorney general, won 61.94 percent of the votes and Wofford had 35.69 percent of the votes with 99.13 percent of the polls reporting, according to The Associated Press.

In her victory speech, James pledged to fight against corruption, voter suppression and illegal gun sales, and in favor of environmental protections. She also promised to dive into the Trump Organization to unearth any possible wrongdoings.

“As the next attorney general of his home state, I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn, and I will hold him accountable using the unbending power of the law,” James said of President Donald Trump. “And that goes for anyone looking to sow or to solidify corruption in this state, whether on Wall Street or in Albany.”

James ran her campaign on promises to fight Trump’s policies as well as to crack down on corruption in Albany, though critics often questioned whether her close ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo would inhibit her in the role.

Wofford released a statement conceding the race to James Tuesday night, thanking his family and supporters for their hard work throughout his campaign.

"Since I announced my campaign, it has been a pleasure to travel across New York State meeting with the hardworking men and women who aspire to have a more transparent and accountable state government," he said. "Although this was not the outcome we wanted, I am grateful for those who put their confidence in me to get the job done.

"I wish Letitia James the best of luck as New York State Attorney General, and hope she will be an independent voice of law & order for the state of New York.”

The race for attorney general took a pivotal turn in May, when then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned abruptly over allegations of abuse against several women. His sudden departure opened up the Democratic ticket for a primary race in which James easily won out over Zephyr Teachout, Sean Maloney and Leecia Eve.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who is the first woman to hold the position, did not run to keep the office.

James’ victory on Tuesday opens the door for a special election to fill the role of New York City public advocate in 2019.

Anyone who collects enough signatures will be able to run for the position, and several City Council members have already expressed interest. City Councilman Jumaane Williams opened a campaign committee with the Board of Elections in October.

With Nicole Brown and Vincent Barone

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