Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County district attorney, edged closer today to declaring her candidacy for state attorney general. “It’s fair to say if Andrew Cuomo runs for governor, I intend to run for attorney general,” Rice told Newsday. Her comments came at the start of a five-day listening tour of upstate. The Democrat, who won in November a second term as Nassau’s top prosecutor, plans to visit 15 counties.
Rice spent much of today meeting informally with politicians and journalists. She had meetings in the Capitol and at a nearby hotel, the site of a three-day conference of black and Puerto Rican lawmakers.
“I’m happy to travel around, talk to regular people and hear what their issues are,” Rice said in an interview. “I also want to talk to them about some of the things I’ve been able to do in Nassau that address the issues we face all across the state.”
Rice is among at least five Democrats vying to succeed Cuomo, who is expected to announce his bid for governor next month. However, Cuomo continues to publicly say he is focused on being attorney general.
The other contenders are Assemb. Richard Brodsky of Westchester County, former federal prosecutor Sean Coffey, former insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo and state Sen. Eric Schneiderman of Manhattan. Each has more than $1 million in their respective campaign treasuries, except for Rice who has $2.4 million on hand as of reports filed last month with the state Board of Elections.
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice. (Newsday File / Mahala Gaylord)