Public Advocate Letitia James wasted no time trying to elbow her way to the front of the pack seeking to replace Eric Schneiderman as state attorney general, The Post has learned.
James ordered her aides to start working the phones to contact elected officials across the city first thing Tuesday, sources said.
James, a licensed attorney with a law degree from Howard University, wanted her fellow pols to call Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) and tell him they back her for the job of top law-enforcer in the state, sources said.
“She is trying to make it look like she has a groundswell of support, but really she’s engineered the whole thing,” said one official who received a call.
“She clearly really wants to be attorney general and she’s not taking any chances.”
Solicitor General Barbara Underwood became acting Attorney General when Schneiderman’s resignation took effect at 5 p.m., but state law requires the legislature to appoint an interim AG pending November’s election.
With a combined 213 seats in the Assembly and Senate, it will take at least 107 votes to approve Schneiderman’s successor — and with a 104-member Democratic Assembly caucus, Heastie holds almost all the cards in deciding who that will be.
Heastie declined to “talk about candidates” following a two-hour meeting with Assembly Democrats, but told reporters: “Even back to my days as a county chair, I’ve always believed in diversity… Diversity does matter.”
US Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-LI), state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner have also expressed interest, while Gov. Cuomo is quietly pushing for either Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul or his counsel, Alphonso David, lawmakers said.
Others being floated as potential picks include former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, who challenged Cuomo in 2014 and tweeted that she was “seriously considering running.”
On CNN, Bharara called the mentions of his name “very flattering” and said he wasn’t “putting it out there,” but also didn’t deny in the job.
James declined to comment.
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