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Lawmaker vs. Prosecutor For NY Attorney General

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN

Associated Press Writer

6:10 AM EDT, September 15, 2010

NEW YORK (AP)

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State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who won the Democratic nomination for New York attorney general, will face Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan in a general election, pitting a self-described progressive lawmaker against a tough-talking prosecutor in the race to become the state's top lawyer.

With most precincts reporting, Schneiderman handily carried Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and the Hudson Valley on Tuesday night in a close race against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, another candidate whose career so far focused mainly on putting prisoners behind bars.

In a field of five, Schneiderman had 34 percent of the vote, compared with 32 percent for Rice.

Retired trial attorney Sean Coffey, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and former insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo trailed.

In his victory speech, Schneiderman promised to follow "the same aggressive, progressive approach" in pursuing social justice and rooting out corruption as current Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the front-runner in the governor's race. He also thanked activists and advocates who backed his campaign, including Citizen Action and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Schneiderman, from Manhattan, gave up his legislative seat after 12 years to run for attorney general. He led the investigation this year that forced the expulsion of Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a fellow Democrat convicted of misdemeanor assault in a domestic incident.

The attorney general's office, with some 700 lawyers, defends the state in lawsuits, protects consumers, files civil suits, monitors charities and sometimes conducts investigations and prosecutions.

All five Democrats promised to take a hard line on public corruption, help prevent another Wall Street meltdown and protect the rights of New Yorkers.

In conceding, Rice said there were more similarities than differences among the five.

Donovan, 53, scheduled a news conference for Wednesday on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan to announce his endorsement by former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch, whose "New York Uprising" movement's government reform pledges Donovan has signed.

Donovan's campaign has emphasized cracking down on political corruption, abusive state contractors, Medicaid fraud and the flow of terrorist money.

Cuomo, like his predecessor Eliot Spitzer, made headlines in major investigations and settlements and launched a bid for governor.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)