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NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Reign Ends Tuesday, But Who Will Replace Him?

State lawmakers now have the task of picking his successor to serve until the end of the current term

What to Know

  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was violent with four women he was romantically involved with, according to The New Yorker
  • The women gave detailed accounts of their abusive relationships to the magazine; two went on record
  • Just after the bombshell article was published Monday, Schneiderman announced he was resigning; now lawmakers need to pick a replacement

New York lawmakers on Tuesday began the task of selecting the state's next attorney general, hours after two-term Democrat Eric Schneiderman's stunning downfall amid allegations that he physically abused four women.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said after a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats who control the chamber that they discussed the protocols of appointing a successor to Schneiderman, but haven't talked about specific candidates.

The state's solicitor general, Barbara Underwood, is serving as acting attorney general until the Legislature appoints a successor to fill out the last eight months of Schneiderman's second four-year term.

Heastie said the law states that when a vacancy happens during the legislative session, "the Legislature shall act." The replacement will be chosen with a joint vote by the Senate and Assembly.

But exactly when that happens remained up in the air, with Heastie saying he would talk to Senate Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, about the next step.

"I think it should be a deliberate process," Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after an event at the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, named after his late father. "This is a very important position and this is a highly charged situation."

Since Democrats hold the overall majority of the 213 total seats, the temporary replacement likely will be a Democrat.

Schneiderman's permanent replacement will be chosen in a November election. The state Democratic convention is in two weeks on Long Island, followed by the primary Sept. 13.

Schneiderman announced late Monday night that he was resigning. His resignation went into effect 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The announcement came just a few hours after The New Yorker posted an article in which four women accused Schneiderman of physical abuse carried out while they were dating. Schneiderman said he "engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity," but denied assaulting anyone.

Among the names being floated as potential candidates to replace Schneiderman is Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014 and was defeated by Cuomo in the primary. She tweeted Tuesday that she was "seriously considering running for Attorney General."

Teachout ran a surprisingly strong race that has provided Democrat Cynthia Nixon some optimism in this year's gubernatorial race as she challenges the two-term incumbent in the primary.

Also, Politico reported that U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, is interested in running for attorney general. A former federal prosecutor and Nassau County district attorney, she lost to Schneiderman in the 2010 Democratic primary for attorney general.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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