The last two New York Attorneys General have become wildly famous. Everybody knows who Eliot Spitzer is, mostly for the wrong reasons. Before he became Governor Client Number 9, Eliot Spitzer attained the title “Sheriff of Wall Street.” Meanwhile, the current NYAG Andrew Cuomo was already famous because of his father. As AG, Cuomo has continued Spitzer’s legacy of asserting jurisdiction over anything that will help him run for Governor. The plan seems to be working, and Cuomo is the prohibitive favorite to become the next New York Governor.
Which means New Yorkers need to elect another attorney general. Unfortunately, nobody is paying attention to the Democratic primary (next Tuesday) where the winner will most likely be a shoe in for the job of top lawyer in New York. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 77% of registered Democrats have no idea who they’re going to vote for. More embarrassingly, 8% of respondents to an open-ended question about who they will vote for said they were going to vote for a person who is not actually running for NYAG. That’s double the 4% support “frontrunner” Kathleen Rice received.
Arguably, it’s the most important AG job in the country, the election is a week away, and 85% of the potential voters haven’t made up their mind or don’t know who is in the race. Think about that the next time somebody complains about “regulation” of Wall Street. I can’t blame Jamie Dimon if he’s not thrilled about listening to an AG who was elected by five guys who thought it would be a funny to show up and Ice election day workers.
So, as a public service to all the Above the Law readers who might actually have to deal with the NYAG, I’m liveblogging tonight’s Attorney General debate. Please check it out, I’m trying to be helpful…
If you’re already basically aware of the candidates debating tonight, scroll to the liveblog below. For those who are don’t know the candidates, or non-New Yorkers who are eager to laugh at how poorly run New York state has become, here’s a brief bio of the main candidates:
Kathleen Rice — Nassau County D.A.: She was the first woman to be elected a D.A. on Long Island. She’s hoping the suburban credibility will help her not just on Long Island, but also in upstate New York. She wants to out people who are mean to the environment. She’s the frontrunner, with 4% of the vote.
Eric Schneiderman — New York State Senator: Elected official from the upper west side is doing what politicians from the upper west side do. He’s putting together a coalition of “labor, liberal and black voters in New York City,” according to the New York Times. He’s also got endorsements from damn near everybody who wants to be Mayor once Michael Bloomberg decides to go back to being a billionaire. He’s polling at 3%.
Sean Coffey — partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann: You can’t have a New York election without at least one person trying to buy the office. For this race, that person is Coffey. He’s focusing on upstate concerns. A rich guy who is more concerned about Albany than Wall Street? Well, he should be getting the bankers’ votes. He used to be a partner at (wait for it… Latham). Don’t worry Coffey, you can still win the NYAG’s office without the vote of ATL comments. Though, since you’re polling at 1%, you might want to make a direct appeal to ATL’s twitter following.
Richard Brodsky — New York State Assemblyman: He’s the Assemblyman from Yonkers and Westchester. As an elected official, his signature issue has been regulation of the Indian Point Nuclear plant. Since that issue is so 1985, we’ll see if he has any new tricks tonight. Polling at 1%.
Eric Dinallo — Former Superintendent of Insurance for New York State: Remember when Eliot Spitzer went to D.C. and had sex with that prostitute? Spitzer was down in D.C. to testify in front of Congress about pending crisis facing large insurers like AIG. Also down in D.C. to give testimony? Eric Dinallo. Dinallo really tried to warn people about what was going to happen to companies like AIG. Nobody listened. But unless something really interesting happens tonight, Dinallo has my vote next Tuesday. I might be the only one, Dinallo is currently polling at 0%.
Okay, enough bios lets get to the debates. Click on the liveblog below and for the love of God, please vote next week.