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N.Y. AG Letitia James just made a power move by leaving the governor's race

James said she's instead seeking re-election amid reports that she wants to question former President Donald Trump under oath as part of an investigation into his financial dealings.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she's dropping out of the state's governor's race after jumping in just weeks ago. She said she will instead seek re-election as the state's highest legal officer.

She announced her decision amid reports that her office is seeking to question former President Donald Trump under oath as part of its civil tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization.

James has developed a national profile of her own by leading the most thorough investigation yet into Trump and his shady business dealings.

“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James tweeted. “There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.”

Early polling numbers showed incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul with a sizable lead over James and New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in the Democratic primary. That inevitably led some to suggest that James withdrew her candidacy because she read the tea leaves and saw her prospects in the race dwindling.

I don’t disagree with that. Continuing her investigation into one of the most overtly corrupt, least likable people in the country is a more fruitful path than pushing forward with a campaign she was likely to lose.  

And yes, becoming the next New York governor would be an undoubtedly high-profile gig during an exciting time, as states prepare to receive a windfall of cash from the bipartisan infrastructure package. But James has developed a national profile of her own by leading the most thorough investigation yet into Trump and his shady business dealings.

The governorship will be there for the taking should she want it in the future. But seeing her office’s ongoing investigations to completion could give her the boost she needs to get there. 

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