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Underwood Approved as Interim NY Attorney General

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 23, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For Barbara Underwood, her appointment as New York's acting attorney general must have been a pleasure and a pain.

One week, she was sworn in as the first woman to hold the post. The next week, legislators were interviewing other candidates for the permanent job.

That's because the governor named Underwood to replace Eric Schneiderman, who recently resigned in disgrace. Now the legislature has voted to have her fill out his term.

End of the Year

On a vote of 190 to 1, the legislature named Underwood as the state's 66th attorney general. She was one of a dozen candidates, but said she would not run for election at the end of the term this year.

"I've served in many roles in government throughout my career, but I believe this job -- at this moment in history -- is the most important job I have ever had," she said after the vote.

On the eve of state party conventions, state assembly members and senators considered other candidates. Democrat and Republican leaders will choose nominees for the four-year term in November.

Assembly speaker Carl Heastie said the legislature might have chosen a different candidate if it were a mid-term vacancy. Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said lawmakers wanted to "preserve the continuity of the office."

Next Election

Underwood had been the state solicitor general until she stepped in for Schneiderman, who abruptly quit amidst allegations that he physically abused four women. He resigned on May 7.

In the meantime, Underwood has endorsed Public Advocate Letitia James for the attorney general job. She is considered the front-runner for the Democratic convention.

If elected, James would be the first woman and first black individual elected to the position.

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