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Two House Democrats Eye New York Attorney General Runs

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned after abuse allegations

Reps. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., are both considering running for New York attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Reps. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., are both considering running for New York attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two House Democrats are considering running for New York attorney general following Eric Schneiderman’s swift resignation Tuesday night.

Four women came forward in a New Yorker article accusing Schneiderman of physically abusing them. He denied the allegations but resigned hours after the story published. 

Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice and Sean Patrick Maloney are both eyeing runs for attorney general. Both have run for the office before. Rice is seriously considering running for attorney general and likely to run, according to a source with knowledge of her plans. Rice’s plans were first reported by Politico.  Maloney is also considering a run, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Two House seats from New York would open up should both members decide to run. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales currently rates each of the races Solid Democratic.

Maloney is one of 12 Democrats representing districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016. Trump won the 18th District north of New York City by 2 points, even though Maloney was re-elected to a third term by 13 points. Maloney ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2006, losing in the primary to Andrew M. Cuomo, the current governor. 

Hillary Clinton carried Rice’s 4th District on Long Island by 9 points in 2016, while Rice was re-elected to a second term by 20 points. State Sen. Todd Kaminski, a former assistant U.S. Attorney like Rice, is one potential candidate for her seat.

Voters first elected Rice to represent the 4th District in 2104. She ran unsuccessfully against Schneiderman for the Democratic nomination to be attorney general in 2010. In the House, she has been known to clash with leadership and was part of a group of Democrats who did not support California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader.

The New York filing deadline for congressional races has already passed. That means the process for selecting Democratic nominees for vacated congressional seats depends on the timing around the June 26 primary, according to a spokesman for the state board of elections.

Should Rice or Maloney win the attorney general nomination at the state party’s convention on May 23rd and 24th, a “declination period” would start for the congressional district during which the lawmaker would decline the party’s nomination for his or her House seat. (Neither faces a serious primary challenge.) In that case, the nomination would be filled by a small group chosen by Rice or Maloney, listed when each member filed their petition to run for the House.

But, if Rice or Maloney does not secure the attorney general nomination at the convention, either could file petitions to run for the position statewide. Those statewide petitions are due in July and the period to decline the House nomination in that instance would begin after the June 26 primary. In that case, the Democratic nominee for a House seat would be selected by members of the county party committee.

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