Letitia James won the race for New York attorney general on Tuesday, setting her up to become a key legal combatant to President Donald Trump’s administration.
James, the New York City public advocate, was part of a Democratic sweep of New York’s state-wide elected offices along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who all won re-election on Tuesday.
She defeated Republican Keith Wofford, a private attorney who was originally from Buffalo and now lives in Manhattan, and three third-party candidates. The Associated Press call the race at about 11 p.m.
James, 60, will become the first African American woman to be elected to a state-wide office in New York.
DiNapoli, meanwhile, thwarted a Republican challenge from Jonathan Trichter, a financial expert and former Democrat.
James was the favourite to win the seat that opened up when now-former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned earlier this year after The New Yorker published accounts from multiple women who said Schneiderman physically abused them.
Barbara Underwood was appointed to finish Schneiderman’s term but did not run for a full term.
A former New York City councilwoman, James vowed to continue the Attorney General’s Office’s aggressive posture with the Trump administration, which has resulted in more than 100 legal actions challenging federal decisions or actions, including Trump’s policies on immigration and climate change
James won a four-way Democratic primary in September to advance to Tuesday’s general election.
Wofford, who specialises in bankruptcy law, had accused James of being too cosy with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other Democratic leaders, vowing to be an independent force in office.
James had about 63 percent of the vote with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
In a statement, Wofford thanked his supporters and wished James well.
“I wish Letitia James the best of luck as New York State attorney general and hope she will be an independent voice of law and order for the state of New York,” he said.
In the comptroller’s race, DiNapoli successfully won a third full term. He was first appointed to the position in 2007.
Trichter, a finance expert, challenged DiNapoli’s handling of the state’s $200 billion pension fund. He was a first-time candidate for office who struggled to raise money and air advertisements, leaving him unknown to most New York voters, according to public-opinion polls.
In a victory statement, DiNapoli thanked New Yorkers for electing him.
“With their renewed support, I will continue to guard the taxpayers of this state against waste and corruption and push to make government more accountable, efficient and transparent,” DiNapoli said.
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, DiNapoli had about 68 percent of the vote.