He has called himself an outsider, the taxpayer’s watchdog and has promised to clean up Albany corruption.

On Friday, Republican Attorney General candidate Keith Wofford visited Rochester and sat down for a 30-minute interview about his campaign. The Buffalo native is a Harvard-educated lawyer and co-managing partner with the international law firm Ropes & Gray’s 300-person New York CIty office.

The corruption, resulting in a constant stream of trials and sentencings, is not just costly financially, he said, but is creating a “crisis in confidence” that is driving taxpayers and businesses to flee the Empire State. He wants the Attorney General’s Office to play a bigger role in reviewing contracts, and sees an opening for the office to also be more active on matters of campaign finance and influence.

Wofford is considered an underdog to Democratic candidate and current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Regardless of who wins, New York is poised to elect its first African-American attorney general.

On Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

“It is incredibly important that the Senate take the accusations — as we should take any accusation of sexual assault, sexual abuse — seriously,” he said.

On political influence and potential conflicts of interest given his legal practice:

“Not only am I not a career politician, I’m not a politician at all,” he said, promising a non-partisan office and adding: “We need people who don’t need the job.”

He has donated to Republicans as well as Democrats, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013, the late Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson and Buffalo school board member Sharon M. Belton-Cottman in her unsuccessful 2015 campaign for the Buffalo Common Council. He contrasted that to Democrat candidates who, during the primary, touted their political bona fides and willingness taking on President Trump.

Wofford said he would sever all ties with his law firm, and there are structures in place to address conflicts of interest. And while adding that he would be term-limited by his wife, he did not place a limit on his service, if elected. It is important, he said, to be in office long enough to be effective, and that also requires that “people realize they are going to have to deal with you for a while.”

Asked how James would balance politics and the office, her campaign spokesman Jack Sterne put the focus back on Wofford, saying he has “embraced Donald Trump and his extreme right wing policies. That is as partisan as you can get.”

The Wofford campaign fired back that James “is a creation of Bill de Blasio’s political machine,” and that Cuomo backed her “so he can have a rubber stamp in the Attorney General’s office,” said Wofford spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. Wofford has said he voted for the president.

On opioids and legalizing marijuana:

Wofford set out a four-pronged approach to combat the opioid problem that involved using the organized crime task force, Medicaid fraud unit, to go after problem doctors and the civil division to address suppliers that might be flooding the market. There also must be an educational component, he said.

When it comes to legalization of marijuana, he said it’s important to deal with enforcement issues, acknowledging the disproportionate impact that low-level drug arrests have on communities of color and creating a pipeline to prison.

But while he supports medical marijuana, he said on full legalization: “I’m not there yet, because it would have potential far-reaching consequences we have not talked through yet.” Among those are issues of detection and enforcement of driving while high, workplace drug testing and long-term public health questions.

On New Yorkers electing the first African-American attorney general:

“I think it’s incredibly positive for the state (and for) a lot of people who don’t otherwise have a lot of faith in the legal system,” he said, adding that it “opens up the possibility for progress on a lot of issues.”

Asked to elaborate, Wofford said: “I think we can have a wonderful dialogue about reforms around the criminal justice system,” and that could be accelerated by having a person of color in the office.

James’ spokesman noted she was the first African-American woman elected to citywide office in New York City. “But what makes this significant is not merely the historical win, but what you do with the position and your principles,” Sterne said.