SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Now that state Attorney General Letitia James has thrown her hat in the 2022 race for governor, a host of hopefuls have started their own jockeying for the post — including Brooklyn’s just-re-elected Democratic District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Gonzalez netted his first endorsement at the annual SOMOS conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before even officially entering the race from Ruben Diaz Jr. — the powerful former Bronx Borough president — on Thursday night, where he introduced Gonzalez as the “next attorney general of the state of New York.”
“When you talk about someone who checks every single box of what it means to carry out job Tish James has done, I think Eric Gonzalez checks every single box,” Diaz proclaimed during a reception hosted by Gonzalez to celebrate his own re-election as Brooklyn DA at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Juan where the SOMOS conference is held.
“This is not an announcement by him, but should he run for attorney general, I will be with Eric Gonzalez 1 million percent,” the ex-pol declared, drawing cheers, imploring the crowd to take a “serious look” at Gonzalez.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my friend — and hopefully the next attorney general of the state of New York, Eric Gonzalez!”
Increasing Latino representation in state and city government has been a hot topic of conversation prior to the SOMOS conference in sunny San Juan especially in the upcoming City Council Speaker’s race.
Even Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised to hire more Latinos — announcing the appointment of Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez as her choice for the next secretary of state on Wednesday.
Sources said Gonzalez has been making calls to potential donors and supporters in the weeks ahead of SOMOS — and The City reported he was actively setting up meetings ahead of the week’s soiree.
He is also represented by the same consulting firm as James — the Bronx-based Hamilton Strategies which was founded by longtime consultant and the founder of the Hispanic Federation, Luis Miranda.
When Gonzalez took the stage Thursday he said he feels “blessed that I had the opportunity to help me transform our criminal justice system.”
He thanked James — who stood nearby clapping — as well as the support from unions and his family.
“We’re going to continue to continue to have a conversation over the next few weeks about how we build a unity in this state that we have not seen in a long time,” the Brooklyn DA said.
“I hope that I’ll be able to make an announcement at some future date, God willing, that this situation looks like you can have an attorney general that’s proximate to the community and continue the great work that Tish James is doing right now.”
Other names who have announced a run or are considering their own bid include, Fordham professor and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, Westchester Democratic state Sen. Shelly Mayer and Bronx Assemblyman Clyde Vanel and Queens Democratic state Sen. Mike Gianaris.