[guest post by JVW]
A very interesting announcement came out earlier today: New York Attorney General Letitia James (I just learned for the first time that she goes by “Tish”), who after bringing down the fiendishly corrupt and awful former Empire State governor and his dimwit brother was seen as a darling of progressives and a formidable candidate to replace him (Andy the Asshole, that is), announced earlier today that she would end her campaign for governor and instead seek reelection as attorney general. Here is what she told us:
I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general.
There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.
I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.
— Tish James (@TishJames) December 9, 2021
This seems like very odd timing indeed, coming at a moment in which she is probably riding as high in public esteem as she ever will. So let’s speculate on some possible reasons why she has decided to keep her powder dry and likely coast to reelection as AG next year:
1) She has concerns about running in a primary against a fellow female (albeit white) Democrat who can be seen as the pseudo-incumbent having replaced the execrable Cuomo (again, we’re talking about Andy the Asshole, not brother Fredo even though the adjective fits him too), and worried that it could cause a fissure among Democrats in what is shaping up to be a challenging year for the party.
2) Along those lines, perhaps she and her advisors believe Democrats might be in big trouble next year and that a GOP tide could conceivably seep into the governor’s mansion in Albany. They might be nervously reminiscing about George Pataki in 1994, and are struck with an uneasy feeling that this could be history repeating itself.
3) She worries that her record as AG, despite the Cuomo scalps and despite her dogged pursuit of one Donald J. Trump, might not match the mood of next year’s electorate. As an avowed progressive, she might not want to spend next spring, summer, and fall defending her past support for bail reform, sentencing reform, less-aggressive policing, and other items which have become key issues both in New York State and across the nation. Better to run again as AG and focus on the trophies stuffed and mounted on her wall rather than explain to voters what she would propose as governor to restore law and order along with public safety.
4) There is some sort of scandal in which she is caught up at least partially or perhaps even fully which could possibly rear its ugly head come next year. I mean, this is New York and these are Democrats after all, so there’s always a high probability at any given moment that this is true.
In any case, one more data point for the supposition that even the best-situated Democrats are nervous about what is in store for them next November.