NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Election Day provided an overwhelming and historic victory in the race for New York State’s top legal official.
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is now the state’s attorney general-elect, becoming the fist woman elected to the position, and the first African American female to hold statewide office.
It’s seen as a point of pride for women in New York.
“I’m absolutely of course proud that an African American woman takes the attorney general’s office,” Upper West Side resident Amber Bolden said. “So excited what she’s gonna do, and I want to be a lawyer myself – so it’s someone I look up to.”
“She’s gonna do a wonderful job because she cares,” Upper West Side resident Doloros Pogue said.
The 60-year-old James defeated Republican Keith Wofford, and will take over from Barbara Underwood who was appointed to the post after Eric Schneiderman resigned amid allegations he physically abused women.
James says she will continue the office’s investigations of President Donald Trump, including his real estate dealings, and as she puts it, his “every dealing”.
“There are legitimate means where she could go after Donald Trump, using the powers of her office,” Doug Muzzio of Baruch College said. “You know, it’s no idle threat and it plays very well with the New York State electorate.
Muzzio says after running on a ticket with Governor Andrew Cuomo, James will look to establish her own independence.
“She’s in a peculiar position,” Muzzio said. “She owes her election in part to Cuomo. He spent an awful lot of money, got her the nomination, (so) there’s a question of loyalty. So she’s gonna pick an issue, I don’t know what it is, but she is gonna pick an issue in which to disagree with the governor.”
James’ election will no doubt trigger a crowded field looking to replace her as public advocate. That race will come in 2019.