Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney running for NY attorney general

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney running for NY attorney general
Sean Patrick Maloney

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will run for New York attorney general, two sources familiar with the New York Democrat’s decision told CNN.

Maloney, the sources said, is waiting to decide whether or not to abandon his re-election bid for the House. He told The New York Times, which first reported the decision, that he will continue to run for the House but will step aside if he wins the attorney general primary.

The primary election for the congressional seat is on June 26, while the primary for the attorney general race is Sept. 13. The general election for both will be Nov. 6. Maloney will technically be running for two seats at the same time, a fact that is likely to raise legal questions.

Maloney is joining a crowded race as a series of Democrats have already announced their plans to run for the powerful New York position, including New York City public advocate Letitia James, lobbyist Leecia Eve and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout. All the Democrats are vying to replace former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned last month after several women accused him of assaulting them.

Maloney, the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, told The New York Times on Wednesday that he wants to “get on offense” against Trump.

“I’ve been down here fighting the Trump administration and playing some pretty good defense but I want to get on offense,” he said. “This job is an opportunity to do it.”

If Maloney steps down from the seat, the opening could set up a tough race for Democrats to defend in November. Trump won the upstate area by 2 percentage points in 2016. Republicans welcomed the news that Maloney is considering leaving the House.

“Everyone knew Sean Patrick Maloney was using his seat in Congress as a stepping stone to higher office. Now he’s handing Republicans yet another top pickup opportunity with strong candidates already in the race,” said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Matt Gorman.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, announced on Tuesday that he would withdraw his bid for re-election to Congress and will run for attorney general of Minnesota. Democratic attorneys general around the country have become political stars in the Trump era, leading court challenges to some of the administration’s most controversial policies.