The drumbeat for New York state Attorney General Letitia James to run for governor is sure to get louder, now that her office has reported its conclusions that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.
Online bookmaker SportsBetting.ag on Wednesday made Ms. James a 1/2 favorite to be elected as governor. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was second at 4/1 odds, while Mr. Cuomo and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams were tied for third at 8/1.
Ms. James, a Democrat and the first Black woman to hold statewide office in New York, issued a damning report Tuesday against the man who would be her main rival for the party’s nomination. She said Mr. Cuomo‘s actions were “deeply disturbing” and that he created a “toxic” workplace.
She has been tight-lipped about whether she’ll run next year.
Asked by a reporter in Newburgh, New York, late last month whether she’ll seek the nomination, Ms. James replied, “I don’t know who told you that. Where did you hear that from? Right now I am focused on Newburgh and focused on getting guns off the street.”
She also is conducting a probe into whether the governor improperly profited from a lucrative book deal.
Mr. Cuomo’s advisers have been fueling speculation that her investigations of the governor are self-serving.
The governor complained Tuesday that “we are living in a super heated, if not toxic, political environment.”
“Politics and bias are interwoven into every aspect of this situation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “One would be naive to think otherwise. And New Yorkers are not naive.”
Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi said before the sexual harassment probe wrapped up that leaks from the investigators “are more evidence of the transparent political motivation of the attorney general’s review.”
Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin called the probe “utterly biased.”
But Ms. James’ political prospects are undoubtedly on the rise, with the state assembly moving ahead with impeachment proceedings against Mr. Cuomo.
Journalist and author Ross Barkan called Ms. James the “ideal candidate” to drive Mr. Cuomo from office.
“The state’s first Black attorney general, James has deep roots in Brooklyn and strong ties to organized labor,” Mr. Barkan wrote in the New York Post in June. “Beating Cuomo in the primary will be about cutting into his deep reservoirs of support. One is labor: Huge unions like 1199 SEIU, the health-care workers union, have remained steadfast Cuomo supporters.”
He said Ms. James, “with her own statewide perch and campaign history with them — she won races of attorney general and public advocate with the backing of many unions — may be the only person who can peel these organizations from Cuomo.”
Zach Parkinson, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said “before anyone praises Letitia James for some profile in courage,” voters should remember her earlier political support of Mr. Cuomo.
He pointed to one of her comments endorsing Mr. Cuomo for reelection in 2018: “The governor has delivered for women and girls of this state,” she said at the time. “He knows what’s at stake, he will fight for us every day.”