New York Attorney General Letitia James suspends campaign for governor

She said she has more work to do in her current position.

December 09, 2021, 3:08 PM

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she’s suspending her campaign for governor and will instead run for reelection for attorney general.

James took to Twitter saying that there are "many investigations and cases underway" and that she "intends to finish the job."

She opted to relinquish her pursuit of the governor’s office for the good of the state Democratic party, the chairman told ABC News.

"I think that she understands that we need to be united now and divisive primary is going to go against our interests. Not going to help us. This was a selfless act on her part," state Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs told WABC.

PHOTO: State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem on Nov. 1, 2021 in New York City.
State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem on Nov. 1, 2021 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images, FILE

James’ campaign did not gain significant traction despite her high profile as the state’s attorney general. Gov. Kathy Hochul locked up significant endorsements across the state in her bid to win a term outright after she assumed office upon the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 9, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 9, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scott Olson/Getty Images, FILE

A source familiar with the matter told ABC News Thursday James wants to depose former President Donald Trump as part of her office’s civil investigation into the Trump Organization.

She sought testimony from the former president Jan. 7, the source said, confirming a detail first reported by the Washington Post.

The attorney general's office is investigating whether the Trump Organization committed financial fraud in the way it valued its real estate holdings. Property valuations are also under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which is deciding whether the former president should face criminal charges.

At a press conference about COVID-19 on Thursday, Hochul told reporters that James called her in the morning to inform her about the decision. Hochul said she supports James’ reelection as attorney general.

"I want to thank her for her leadership; even last week we were together in a Brooklyn church; [we were] always very cordial, always respectful to each other. And that's the hallmark of the two of us and how we plan to continue working together to support the important policies that she's undertaking and her support for what we're doing here in the state of New York," Hochul said.

Hochul also addressed the investigations James is undertaking: "This is a very bad day for Donald Trump and the NRA when we have when we have Tish James, one of the finest attorney generals in the country, very focused on making sure that justice is done."

James' announcement had an immediate impact on the attorney general race, as one candidate dropped out of the Democratic primary and endorsed James.

"Her decision to run for re-election demonstrates her determination to continue her unparalleled actions on major cases and important investigations that are currently pending," state Sen. Shelley Mayer, who launched her run for attorney general in November, wrote in a statement on Twitter.

Mayer said she will instead run for reelection in the state Senate.

James launched her campaign for governor in late October. Her public profile grew this year following investigations into the office of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for concealing the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 and into sexual harassment allegations against him.

James is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected attorney general of the state.

In 2013, she was elected public advocate of New York City, and she was reelected for a second term in 2017. She had previously served as a New York City councilmember for ten years. Before being elected to office, James led the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events