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Catching up on the AG race: new real estate spending against Teachout; Orthodox Jewish support for James; poll suggests Maloney ahead (though race fluid)

There's a lot to catch up on regarding the Attorney General race. While Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to stay out of the race--seemingly a snub toward Public Advocate Letitia James, a fellow Brooklynite--his wife Chirlane McCray has endorsed law professor Zephyr Teachout, the farthest left of the candidates.

Ideology trumps identity politics: McCray is a black woman, bypassing two black women, James and Verizon lobbyist and ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo aide Leecia Eve, either of whom could be the first black woman in statewide office. Teachout is white.

Late-breaking pressure

Meanwhile, as Politico reported 9/10/18, "New York's biggest developer is helping to bankroll an eleventh-hour effort to take down an attorney general candidate who has vowed to do battle with the real estate industry," with the Related Companies giving money to a PAC fighting Teachout, while its had has donated significantly to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, considered the most business-friendly of the four candidates.

As Daily News editorial writer Alyssa Katz wrote, "Real estate is afraid of @ZephyrTeachout, who can reasonably be expected to use powers NY law gives attorneys general to police condo offerings, investment syndicates and more." Also see coverage in Sludge, which focuses on money in politics.

It's interesting that James, known for her steadfast opposition to Atlantic Yards while a Council Member, isn't seen as tough as Teachout. As Public Advocate, she has gone after the "100 Worst Landlords," though I did note a softer stance on Atlantic Yards, and recently a campaign overstatement regarding her role.

Also, in Orthodox Jewish circles, ads and messages are circulating to back James, as Gotham Gazette's Ben Max tweeted, "Source says that basically the rumors, both verbal and written, that are flying around are that Teachout as AG would put a lot of Jews in jail, esp re real estate and nursing home practices. Also some concerns re yeshivas."

Also, the Buffalo News reported today:
In a sign that [Maloney] could beginning to be taken seriously by his opponents, the Working Families Party said Monday it has bought about $200,000 of television time to highlight several of his more "conservative" votes in Congress. The party officially lists a "placeholder" candidate on the ballot until after the primary, but considers both Teachout and James worthy of its backing.
Jockeying for the lead

A 9/8/18 article in Huffington Post pointed to the competition between Teachout, supported by the "national left," and James, supported by the state Democratic Party establishment, with the wild card Maloney, a Democrat who has voted with Republicans on some key issues.

James had been leading, in a poll from July, though most respondents were undecided. Now, as New York State of Politics reported 9/10/18, a Siena Poll suggests Maloney and James "are in a virtual tie," with 25% and 24% respectively, while Teachout had 18% and Leecia Eve, who has less of a base and less money, 3%.

The poll may not be accurate--two thirds of the sample was 55 and older, as the documentation on last page (bottom) shows--but it likely does reflect Maloney's huge war chest, which includes money transferred from his House campaign account (which Teachout has sued to block, though that surely won't be heard by the primary).

So for those opposing Maloney it doesn't necessarily mean James is a strategic vote--I suspect the race, with more ad spending coming in the final days, with the vote Thursday, remains fluid. But it is notable that James, who'd gone after Teachout after the latter got endorsements from the New York Times and New York Daily News, has now targeted Maloney as a "Trump Democrat."

Since then, Teachout got an endorsement from the Buffalo News, while Newsday backed James and the Albany Times-Union endorsed Eve.

The diversity issue

A New York Times article, noting that whoever wins will make history (a woman, or a gay man), reported Eve's account that James had tried to get her out of the race, since two black women would cut into each other's vote:
“How dare someone suggest there could be only one woman or one woman of color,” Ms. Eve said. “Nobody raises these issues when two, three, four or 15 white men are running against each other.”
Ms. James’s camp said both women said they were running during the phone call and that they had wished one another luck. Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for Ms. James, denied that Ms. James asked Ms. Eve to drop out and said “she is pleased to be running with such a diverse group of candidates.”
In an 8/7/18 interview with Bob Law on WBAI, Eve was asked if she was a "spoiler," a term used by political machines in black-dominated Central Brooklyn.

Eve, without saying James had asked her to leave, said that was "disappointing, it's not surprising" and "just completely inconsistent with the facts."

When Eric Schneiderman resigned (after an article describing alleged abuses toward women), Eve had decided in less than two days to run. "One of my opponents called me that Wednesday to say, 'Hey, I heard you’re considering running', and I said, 'I'm actually not considering, I already made the decision to run.'

So, Eve said, "it may have been a strategic disadvantage to make an announcement later in this month, but one of my opponents knew within 36 hours of Eric Schneiderman resigning... And I think we should be celebrating that there are three women running, including two women of African descent."

More on Eve

profiled Eve for City Limits 9/4/18; later that day, telecom watchdog published a critical commentary, arguing that "she has protected the interest of Verizon over the public interest, which, as a vice president, she is supposed to do."

The charities issue

While the candidates have said a lot about Donald Trump and Wall Street, but, as City and State reported 9/10/18, they've said very little about how they'd run the office's Charities Bureau, and only two responded to queries, with vague answers:
But arguably one of its biggest roles is among its lowest profile: overseeing an estimated $150 billion nonprofit sector that includes everything from social service providers like foster care and homeless shelters, to philanthropies, universities and museums.
There are essentially three roles involved in the attorney general’s oversight of such nonprofits, which is carried out by the office’s Charities Bureau: education, regulation and law enforcement.
The poll

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