NY Republican candidate: I'm no sheriff of Wall St

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sole Republican candidate for New York attorney general says he does not want to be the next “sheriff of Wall Street” and would give up the national prominence the job offers in favor of tackling political corruption in the capital.

Dan Donovan, 53, a career prosecutor in New York City’s borough of Staten Island, told Reuters on Wednesday he was prompted to run after endless corruption scandals in Albany.

Donovan said he is not running to catapult his career by capturing a post made nationally famous when Democrats Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo used the job to prosecute securities fraud, insider trading and other Wall Street abuses.

Spitzer, who earned the nickname “sheriff of Wall Street,” became governor in 2006 but resigned after 14 months amid a prostitution scandal. Cuomo is now running for New York governor and expected to be elected in November.

Donovan said he has no interest in higher office and would focus his tenure on tackling political fraud and corruption, staying away from headline-grabbing announcements.

After considering but declining to run four years ago, Donovan said, accusations in May against the state Senate majority leader, Pedro Espada, of bilking $14 million from healthcare organizations he founded “compelled me to say that was enough.

As to Wall Street malfeasance, Donovan said caution was needed, and he would make sure not to send the wrong message to a vital industry that could opt to “go anywhere.”

In the last 10 years, Donovan said, not all cases brought against alleged Wall Street wrongdoing “were actually substantiated.”

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“There have been a lot of exonerations,” he said.

“It’s only been known as the sheriff of Wall Street for eight years,” Donovan said, alluding to Spitzer and Cuomo. “I would take a fair approach.

“There’s no need to look for corruption where there isn’t,” he said.

Voters shouldn’t be afraid that he’s “looking to make headlines for myself at the expense of people who are in business,” he said. “I’m not doing this for any notoriety.”

Donovan describes himself as a 53-year-old single white male who has never been married and whose mother thinks he is mad running for an office that pays less than his current job.

While Donovan is the lone Republican in the race, five Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in a primary next Tuesday. Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York state.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Mark Egan, Gary Hill