New York attorney general, a thorn in Trump’s side, seeks a second term

New York Attorney General Letitia James, one of former President Donald Trump’s top legal nemeses, hopes to win a second term Tuesday in a race against a lesser-known Republican lawyer.

James, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Michael Henry, a business litigation attorney who has been endorsed by several police unions, but faces big odds against one of the most powerful Democrats in the state.

James, 64, made history when she took office in January 2019. She is the first Black woman elected to state office, the state’s first Black Attorney General, and the first woman elected to office.

He began investigating Trump almost as soon as he took office, suing the Republican in September alleging that he and his company misled banks and others about the value of their assets.

James also clashed with one of his party’s stars, who oversaw a sexual harassment investigation last year that precipitated Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.

Other foes have included the National Rifle Association, which he is suing for alleged personal dealings by executives; manufacturers and distributors of opioid pain relievers; the Roman Catholic Church, which his office is investigating for its handling of priest abuse; and the New York police, whom he sued for his treatment of protesters following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Like many New York Republicans this year, Henry has campaigned on fears of rising crime and unwavering support for law enforcement. He is in favor of relaxing gun restrictions and less regulation of businesses.

Henry said James’ office “has been put together in the service of political ambition.” He has criticized her for going after Trump and getting involved in the Cuomo investigation when she had plans to possibly replace him as governor.

James briefly ran for governor last year following Cuomo’s resignation, but abandoned the effort after about two months.

When Trump was president, James sued his administration dozens of times, challenging policies on the environment, immigration, education, health care and other issues. He also fought Trump over his plans to include an immigration status question on the Census, and won in the US Supreme Court.

Trump has repeatedly criticized James’s actions against him, saying they are driven by “racism” and political considerations.

Before winning office in 2018, James had called Trump a “con man,” a “carnival robber” and a “fear monger.”

After a leak of the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, James vowed to use his office to protect abortion rights in the state.

James, who grew up and still lives in Brooklyn, also made a deeply personal revelation, saying she had an abortion about two decades ago.

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