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AG hopefuls exit race after James seeks reelection

December 13, 2021 GMT
FILE — New York Attorney General Letitia James removes her mask at the beginning of a news conference at her office, in New York, Friday, May 21, 2021. James has suspended her campaign for governor, Thursday, Dec. 9, saying she will run for reelection to her current position. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, FILE)
FILE — New York Attorney General Letitia James removes her mask at the beginning of a news conference at her office, in New York, Friday, May 21, 2021. James has suspended her campaign for governor, Thursday, Dec. 9, saying she will run for reelection to her current position. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, FILE)
FILE — New York Attorney General Letitia James removes her mask at the beginning of a news conference at her office, in New York, Friday, May 21, 2021. James has suspended her campaign for governor, Thursday, Dec. 9, saying she will run for reelection to her current position. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, FILE)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — All five Democrats who had announced campaigns to succeed Letitia James as New York’s attorney general have now withdrawn from the race after she said she would seek reelection rather than run for governor.

The last two hopefuls, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, of Queens, and former state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Mario Vullo announced Monday they ended their campaigns.

Three other Democrats had previously announced they were exiting the race: Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, former Congressional lawyer Daniel Goldman, and state Sen. Shelley Mayer, who represents part of Westchester County.

That leaves the Democratic primary field open — at least for now — for James, who suspended her campaign for governor Thursday.

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James was expected to be a potentially tough opponent for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was thrust into the office in August when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned.

But James said she wanted to stay focused on her office’s slate of ongoing investigations. That includes an inquiry into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings.

She could still face a challenger in the general election.

Three Republicans have registered to run so far, state campaign finance records show, including commercial litigation attorney Michael Henry, former state housing commissioner Joseph Holland and former U.S. General Services Administration regional administrator John Sarcone III.