September 17, 2018

New York Post

New York’s major parties have done something new this year: Each has nominated an African-American for attorney general. That not only guarantees the winner will become New York’s first black AG, it also makes this the first ever black-vs.-black statewide campaign here.

Carl McCall was the first black statewide nominee when he won the comptroller job in 1994. But this is an even bigger landmark.

In this heavily Democratic state, Brooklyn’s Tish James is the clear favorite. But she’d be a major contender in any case: As the city’s public advocate, she did a first-rate job holding Mayor Bill de Blasio to account. And she’s just proved her political talents by triumphing in a tough four-way primary.

Her Republican opponent is Buffalo native Keith Wofford, a Harvard-educated lawyer and co-managing partner at Ropes & Gray, a Midtown law firm.

Naturally, the two promise starkly distinct approaches to the AG’s job.

James vows to thwart President Trump’s “agenda” and to patrol Wall Street. She’s said a lot less about fighting the rampant corruption in state government. Cynics suggest she’s unlikely to rock that boat after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the rest of the Democratic establishment lined up behind her.

Wofford, meanwhile, has pledged to investigate public corruption wherever it exists. Promising to bring independence and private-sector experience to the job, he says he’ll take care in the use of the Martin Act to play “Sheriff of Wall Street.” Abuse of those powers, he warns, can be as harmful to the state’s business climate as public corruption.

Wofford doesn’t want New York creating and enforcing its own immigration laws. He’d concentrate his energy on tackling education, drugs, guns and youth violence.

The two, in short, will have plenty to debate while they’re making history.