(Reuters) - Six candidates are running to succeed Andrew Cuomo as New York state attorney general, a position Cuomo and his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, elevated to national prominence by prosecuting Wall Street abuses.
The five Democratic candidates will compete in a primary on September 14 with the winner facing the lone Republican challenger in the general election in November.
DANIEL DONOVAN - The lone Republican candidate, Donovan was a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office before getting elected district attorney of Richard County on Staten Island. He has pledged to go after government corruption and Medicaid fraud and has insisted on keeping controversial Rockefeller drug laws, which slap at least 15 years in prison on offenders for possession of small amounts of drugs. He doesn’t have enough of his own capital to win, but counts New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as one of his supporters.
SEAN COFFEY - A retired Navy captain, Coffey is a political outsider with more than 20 years of law experience. He is a former federal prosecutor who targeted car thieves and large drug operations before switching to civil and regulatory law. Coffey has proposed that all legislators give full disclosure of outside income to prevent conflicts of interest. He also wants to end the current law that requires the attorney general to obtain a referral from the governor before investigating corruption and enforcing campaign finance laws. He is believed by many to have the connections and funds to pull off a win.
ERIC DINALLO - A former prosecutor during Eliot Spitzer’s reign as Attorney General, Dinallo has years of experience prosecuting securities fraud, insider trading and white collar crime, including the high-profile case of Henry Blodget, the Merrill Lynch analyst charged with securities fraud in 2003 and banned from working on Wall Street. But the association with former New York Governor Spitzer is also a liability: Spitzer was forced to resign following a prostitution scandal. Dinallo wants to make elective office in the legislature a full-time job and ban outside jobs to cut down on conflicts of interest.
RICHARD BRODSKY - An assemblyman from a suburb of New York City, Brodsky has argued the attorney general’s office should be allowed to open cases of corruption against public officials and recently asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to launch an investigation into Google over possible violation of privacy laws by Google Maps, alleging the company tapped into unsecured wi-fi connections. Brodsky ran for attorney general in 2006, but dropped out for personal reasons.
KATHLEEN RICE - A former federal prosecutor and current district attorney in Nassau County, just outside New York City, Rice is considered a strong candidate, with money and connections. Perhaps more importantly, she also has the backing of current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo. Rice has said she wants to restore confidence in state government and give the attorney general real power as an independent watchdog.
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN - A Manhattan state senator, the former prosecutor represents a district with high voter turnout, an asset in an election where name recognition is low. He is also branding himself as a reformer who will take on Wall Street, the corrupt New York state legislature and the insurance industry. Schneiderman is a strong opponent of the Rockefeller drug laws, which he argues needlessly put petty criminals in prison instead of treatment facilities.
Reporting by Karina Ioffee in New York; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Todd Eastham