Sean Patrick Maloney feels good about running for AG

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Mark J. Terrill/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

Sean Patrick Maloney feels good about running for AG

Despite the questionable legality of running for two offices at once.
May 15, 2018

Rep. Kathleen Rice won’t be running for New York’s open attorney general seat this fall, citing the legal hurdles of already being a declared candidate for Congress, but Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney isn’t as concerned, and is leaning toward a run.

A source familiar with Maloney’s thinking told City & State that the Hudson Valley congressman is moving closer to a run, and feeling “even better” about it since Rice is dropping out.

“We’re not there, but it’s a half-step closer because of this,” the source said.

As first reported by Newsday, state election law prohibits a candidate from running for two offices at once. Maloney has already filed to run for re-election to his congressional seat. No other Democrats have declared for that race, but three Republicans have. But the source said Maloney has talked with election lawyers and feels “very confident, quite confident” that a run for attorney general wouldn’t be a problem.

Some experts aren’t as confident. Election lawyer Sarah Steiner said it would be very tricky, legally. “There are ways to do it, and you can definitely do it if you follow the rules exactly, but it’s threading a needle,” she said. “And it will involve litigation at some point.”

Westchester-based election lawyer Alan Goldston said it didn’t sound easy, but that there is a well-known way to get somebody off a ballot by offering a candidate a judicial nomination. “That allows them to withdraw after the withdrawal deadline.” But Goldston said this is new territory. “I’ve not heard of somebody intentionally running for two offices at once.”

Maloney previously ran for the seat in 2006, losing to now–Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the primary. The congressman’s camp says he’s expected to decide whether to run for attorney general by next week. The Democratic state convention, where delegates will vote to put the name of one or more candidates on the ballot for the Sept. 13 primary, starts May 23.

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.