Legislature interviews Underwood, others as potential successor to AG Schneiderman


When it comes to who will replace Eric Schneiderman as New York State Attorney General, there are two processes taking place; who the legislature will appoint in a process which begins Tuesday in the Democrat-led Assembly, and who will pursue and eventually assume the role through election in November.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood is considered by some to be the favorite to serve out the remainder of disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's term.

"If I were the legislature, I would appoint Barbara Underwood to complete this term", Lloyd Constantine, a former aide to Eliot Spitzer, wrote in his cover letter to the Legislature.

But she won't have to contend with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-LI), who announced Tuesday she would be running for re-election instead.

Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joe Lentol, the highest-ranking Assembly Democrat at the public interview, could not say whether Underwood would ultimately be chosen to fill the job.

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"I think it's an understatement to say that none of us expected to be sitting here today for this objective", Underwood told senators and Assembly members gathered Tuesday at a meeting room in the state Capitol complex.

"I won't be distracted as anyone who is going to run would be by the whole process of fundraising and politicking", she said. "I've argued 20 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, 21 cases before our state's highest court, and 33 cases in the Second Circuit - and I've closely supervised the work of other attorneys on hundreds more". "I assure you that I can be that voice".

Rather, Rice said she would run for a third term in Congress.

"I'm not suggesting that I'm more qualified, I'm suggesting that I have different qualifications and that other qualification is having served in public office and that I'm aware of the policy issues", Abinanti said. "Some people joke that the National Association of Attorneys General - NAAG - is also the National Association of Aspiring Governors".

Among those who have spoken positively of Underwood, a Democrat, is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Suffolk County Republican.