State Sen. Eric Schneiderman won the Democratic nomination for New York attorney general Tuesday night in a close race with Nassau County prosecutor Kathleen Rice.
With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Schneiderman's gains in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx put him ahead by 12,000 votes. In a field of five, he had 34 percent of the vote, compared with 31 percent for Rice.
Retired trial attorney Sean Coffey, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and former insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo trailed.
Schneiderman will face Republican prosecutor Dan Donovan of Staten Island in the Nov. 2 general election. In his victory speech, he promised to follow "the same aggressive, progressive approach" in pursuing social justice and rooting out corruption as current Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the front-runner in the governor's race.
Schneiderman, from Manhattan, gave up his legislative seat after 12 years to run. He led the investigation this year that forced the expulsion of Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a fellow Democrat convicted of misdemeanor assault in a domestic incident.
The attorney general's office, with some 700 lawyers, defends the state in lawsuits, protects consumers, files civil suits, monitors charities and sometimes conducts investigations and prosecutions.
All five Democrats promised to take a hard line on public corruption, help prevent another Wall Street meltdown and protect the rights of New Yorkers.
In conceding, Rice said there were always more similarities than differences between the five. Donovan scheduled a press conference Wednesday on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan to announce his endorsement by former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch, whose "New York Uprising" movement government reform pledges Donovan has signed.
Cuomo, like his predecessor Eliot Spitzer, gathered headlines in major investigations and settlements and launched a bid for governor.
Rice, 45, from Locust Valley, is in her second term as district attorney. She reported the most campaign donations, about $5 million, and appeared to have the quiet support of gubernatorial front-runner Cuomo, who declined to formally endorsed anyone.
Coffey, 54, from Westchester County, a former naval aviator and assistant U.S. attorney, retired last year. He won major shareholder settlements from failed telecommunications giant WorldCom and from JPMorgan.
Dinallo, 47, from Manhattan, who headed the attorney general's Investor Protection Bureau that developed the strategy under Spitzer to use New York's anti-fraud Martin Act to go after big financial companies and force large settlements. He teaches business ethics as a visiting professor at New York University.
Brodsky, 64, from Westchester County, gave up his legislative seat to run. He authored legislation to require more accountability from the more than 700 state and local authorities that use public funds and provide quasi-governmental services like mass transit and economic development.