By Alan S. Chartock | May 25, 2018

Run, Preet, Run!

Should Preet Bharara decide to run for Attorney General, he will win. Period. We should be looking for an Attorney General in New York who has the smarts and decency to go after evil wrong doers. We all know that Bharara has proven himself. The conviction of the Cuomo toadies (with more surely to come) is all a result of Preet’s resolve to do the right thing. Perhaps the most important thing about Preet Bharara is that he is beholden to no one. Let’s face it, Cuomo has tried to foist off at least one of his toadies to run. 

We know that Letitia James, the New York City Public Advocate, has outstanding educational credentials but she comes right out of the New York City political machine and is backed by none other than Boss Heastie, who was once (and probably still is) the boss of the Bronx and now the Assembly. Considering how many legislators have been arrested and convicted, do we really want their head guy naming the Attorney General? Talk about the fox and the hen house. What’s more, James has a relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo who, it has been reported, told her NOT to take the Working Families Party nomination, perhaps in a fit of pique because that party nominated the popular Cynthia Nixon as their gubernatorial candidate. Since the WFP was an early backer of James it is an unhealthy omen that the so-called independent Attorney General candidate is already taking orders from Cuomo especially since Cuomo has been surrounded by people who are grafters and worse. Cuomo denies that he told James not to take the nomination. Believe what you want. 

Anyway, if the voters are given a chance to vote for Preet Bharara, they will. They will reward the guy who brought so many of Cuomo’s crooked cronies to their knees. It is unlikely that the Democrats meeting in convention will give Bharara the requisite 25 percent of their votes that would allow him the luxury and expense of foregoing the signature route and having to travel to each of the state’s congressional districts to have people sign a piece of paper allowing him to run. On the other hand, that exercise will bring him around the state and people will get to know him. Frankly, that is such a powerful argument that if I were the corrupt Democrats, I would get him on the ballot to keep him from traveling. 

Preet Bharara is a regular contributor to CNN. If he does become Attorney General, you had better believe that Andrew Cuomo is not going to be happy having him in the top law enforcement job. The corruptive stink coming out of the Cuomo administration is so pungent that the possibility of more discoveries and indictments is not unlikely. 

So, in the end, the question is whether Bharara wants to put himself in the middle of stinking Albany politics. The Attorney General’s job is a natural stepping stone to the governor’s mansion. That’s why the initials AG are often said to mean “almost governor.” New York couldn’t do better than having a governor named Preet. My bet is that the political establishment is already quaking their boots, worrying that he may get the job. Andrew can’t really have a warm place in his heart for the guy whose actions led to the arrest and conviction of the man he once called his “third brother.” Right?

So if Preet Bharara runs, you had better believe that the good government types will support him. As for Letitia James, she’ll be able to run for mayor of New York in a few short years. You will of course, remember Ed Koch who thought he had it all wrapped up against Mario Cuomo. Koch lost. This is too important an election not to get it right. Run Preet, run!

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].