Tish James launches campaign for New York attorney general

 Public Advocate Letitia
Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James announces her campaign for New York attorney general during a rally Wednesday at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Nicholas Hunt

Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James announced her campaign for New York attorney general Wednesday afternoon in Brooklyn.

“The law should be an instrument for change,” James said. “The law must be used as a vehicle to right wrongs.”

James made the announcement at the Brooklyn Historical Society, where supporters chanted “Run, Tish, run!” and held up signs touting James as “The People’s Lawyer.” She promised to “stand up to the forces in Washington who seek to move us backwards.”

James, a Democrat from Brooklyn, has served as public advocate since 2014 and was a city council member from 2004 to 2013. Before becoming a politician, James was an assistant attorney general and public defender. She’s a graduate of Howard University law school.

James is not being considered by the State Legislature to carry out the rest of the term of disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who left the position on May 8 after a New Yorker article alleged that he physically assaulted four women. 

She withdrew herself from consideration last week, but promised in a tweet, “More to come.”

The Legislature began interviewing candidates to fill the term, including the interim attorney general, Barbara Underwood, on Tuesday. Other candidates include Manhattan Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell and former New York Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.

Some lawmakers, as well as some of the candidates, have said Underwood should stay in the position through the end of the year, to not give an appointee an advantage in the November election. Underwood said Tuesday she does not plan to run for the position regardless of the Legislature’s decision, according to the New York Times.

The Democratic Party will hold its convention on May 23-24 to endorse a candidate for the Nov. 6 election, with the statewide Democratic primary election scheduled for Sept. 13. Other possible candidates include former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, New York Rep. Patrick Maloney, Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout and State Sen. Michael Gianaris, according to reports.

With Matthew Chayes