By Mark Hallum
City Public Advocate Letitia James was endorsed by 19 Democratic clubs based in Queens from both the progressive and mainstream sides of the political spectrum in her run for state attorney general in the Sept. 13 primary.
The groups include New Visions Democratic Club, led by City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), which also endorsed Cynthia Nixon in her progressive run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Many of the groups cited the presidency of Donald Trump as their reason for supporting James in that she will be a counter-balance to the perceived threats of his administration as attorney general.
In the Democratic primary James is up against U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Hudson Valley), who is also running for a fourth term in Congress, along with Zephyr Teachout and Leecia Eve.
“As attorney general, I will continue to protect the rights of New Yorkers, especially in the face of attacks from Donald Trump on our most basic rights,” James said.
Although the Trump administration was the most common reason many of the clubs threw their support to James, some cited her history of calling for an end to corruption and the foster care system reform.
“Public Advocate Tish James has never turned away from a fight, whether it is rooting out corruption in our city’s contracting, protecting our most vulnerable children from broken bureaucratic systems, or standing up against a bigoted and unprincipled federal administration,” the Fred Wilson Democratic Club said. “Tish James is the only person up to the task of being the people’s lawyer, New York’s attorney general. We are proud to support her candidacy,” .
The Fred Wilson Democratic Club, located in southeast Queens, is an official branch of the Queens County Democratic Party and is run by District Leader Anthony Andrews.
“Throughout her entire career, Public Advocate Tish James has always fought for the rights of New Yorkers. With continued constitutional attacks from Donald Trump, we need a fearless attorney general defending our rights every day. Tish James is that fearless leader and we are proud to endorse her as the next attorney general for New York,” the United for Progress Democratic Club statement said.
United for Progress Democratic Club exists in the 33rd Assembly District, centered around St. Albans. It is led by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica).
“Public Advocate Tish James is a fearless fighter who has brought experience, passion, and integrity to every position she has ever held. As our next attorney general, she will never back down to forces from New York to Washington who try to deny our rights. Tish James is the best candidate to serve as our next attorney general and defend all New Yorkers,” said District Leader Carol Gresser of the Jefferson Democratic Club, which covers northeast Queens in the district currently held by Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside).
“Public Advocate Tish James has dedicated her career to standing up for our most vulnerable communities. Whether it’s foster care children, individuals with disabilities, or homeless families — Tish has gone to the mat for every and any New Yorker in need. There is no person better suited to be our next attorney general,” the Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club said in a statement.
Although there are questions as to how legal it is for James’ Democratic challenger, Maloney, to run for two offices at once, he has over $3 million in his congressional campaign account. Maloney and his lawyer are confident his run for state office is legitimate, according to the New York Times, due to the fact the state and federal primaries were on different days, with the congressional primary having passed June 26.
Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, and Leecia Eve, a former adviser for Hillary Clinton, are also in the running Democratic primary for AG.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall