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Letitia James Sparks Speculation About Run For N.Y. Governor While Other Contenders Also Keep Their Eyes On '22

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It's more than year before election day 2022, but already potential candidates are surfacing for the Democratic candidate for governor of New York.

One hopeful announced an explanatory committee, another laying out an agenda for moving the state forward, and a third hoping to trade Gracie Mansion for the Executive Mansion.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports, Gov. Kathy Hochul hasn't even had time to change the curtains in the bedroom at the Executive Mansion and already she has three people who'd like to bring in their own decorators to do the job. One was forthright, one was coy and one ducked the question - wink, wink - while telling influential business leaders how she'd change things in New York.

"Eric Adams was here last, and he's the Democratic nominee. And here I am, Letitia James, so... who knows?" James said. "Don't read anything into that."

In the world of New York politics, that was a clear sign to the poohbahs of business and politics at the Association for a Better New York breakfast that if they are considering sending donations to other gubernatorial wannabees, they do so at their peril..

"We've watched over the past few years as New York has been hit by crisis after crisis. The pandemic. Climate change. Economic upheaval and the fight for social justice. At each turn, New Yorkers have needed government to help them thrive. But they haven't had the government they needed," James said.

The attorney general laid out an agenda for moving the state forward, while giving this response to a direct question about whether she's running.

"It was a wondering breakfast," James said.

Watch: Letitia James Discusses Andrew Cuomo Investigation

She also spoke publicly for the first time about the sexual harassment investigation that forced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign.

"He has never taken responsibility for his own conduct. He has never held himself accountable for how his behavior affected our state," James said.

James conveniently overlooked the fact that New York has a governor - Kathy Hochul, who has made it clear she intends to seek reelection.

This as another wannbe, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, stood in front of the governor's office today with people whose loved ones died of COVID in nursing homes. He tried to link Hochul to the policies of her predecessor, and asked her to right the wrongs.

"To apologize on behalf of the state for that. To provide the transparency necessary. Not continue the wrong thing that's happened before," Williams said.

Williams has launched a gubernatorial exploratory committee, saying he's the best choice to run the state.

"We've been consistently condemning wrong policy choices that were happening for a very long time," Williams said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been talking to advisors about running for governor, had this to say about throwing his hat into the ring.

"I want to serve. I'm going to figure out the right way to serve," he said. "We've got a lot to fix in this state."

Meanwhile, Cuomo, who has been MIA since he resigned, had his spokesperson issue a statement, once again, raising questions about the credibility of the sexual harassment charges in the attorney general's report.


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