New York's attorney general represents the people of the state and its government in legal actions, serving as protector, defender, investigator, and prosecutor. The AG's office can get involved in cases related to Wall Street, the environment, health, civil rights, New Yorkers' working conditions, and much more.
New York's attorney general has often been aggressive and, given the state's size and the importance of its largest city, AG cases can be national news. The office has sued Trump University, the Trump charitable foundation, and ExxonMobil over its claims about climate change.
New York is one of 12 states suing the US Department of Labor over a rule related to the Affordable Care Act. It sued the Trump administration after the administration settled a case related to construction of guns on 3D printers. It has been investigating President Trump for possible violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits people in government from receiving pay or otherwise profiting personally from foreign states without Congressional approval.
Four candidates are running for attorney general to replace Barbara Underwood, who was appointed after Eric Schneiderman resigned because of sexual misconduct allegations. Underwood is not seeking election.
Realistically, the race is between two African American attorneys, Democrat Letitia James and Republican Keith Wofford, so New York is likely to get its first African American attorney general next year.
James, formerly a public defender and a member of the New York City Council, is currently New York City's public advocate, where she has been particularly aggressive. She has also been an adviser to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but she says she would be independent as attorney general. She also says she will continue Underwood's actions related to President Trump's New York-based business interests.
Wofford, a Buffalo native now practicing in New York City, says he will do more than previous AGs to investigate corruption in state government and in private entities doing business with the state. He has also criticized previous AGs for what he says are "strong-armed" actions that have driven businesses out of the state. He has criticized James for her focus on reining in President Trump, saying he will be focused on the legal concerns of New York State.
Also running for attorney general:
Libertarian Christopher Garvey, a patent attorney who has been his party's candidate for state Supreme Court and governor. On a campaign website, he says he would limit prosecutions to those involving "force, threat of force, or fraud" and that he would not "enforce a law that violates the constitution."
Reform Party candidate Nancy Sliwa, an attorney whose campaign has focused almost exclusively on protecting animals. She is a legal consultant and adviser to Guardian Angels, the group founded by her husband, Curtis Sliwa.