National News

Bharara Registers to Vote, Raising Speculation of a Run

Posted June 7, 2018 7:18 p.m. EDT

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney in Manhattan who was fired by President Donald Trump, has registered as a Democratic voter in New York for the first time in more than a decade amid speculation that he might run for attorney general.

Bharara’s registration in Westchester County occurred during the window for candidates to gather signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary in September. A candidate needs thousands of signatures across half the congressional districts by mid-July — meaning time is short for Bharara to jump in.

Bharara did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Democratic primary for attorney general is already crowded. It includes Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, who was nominated at the state party convention; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of the Hudson Valley; Zephyr Teachout, a law professor and former candidate for governor; and Leecia Eve, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

They are running to replace Eric Schneiderman, who resigned suddenly last month after multiple women accused him of physical abuse. Barbara D. Underwood, who was chosen last month to replace Schneiderman, has said she would not seek election in November.

Bharara, who has become an outspoken commentator since Trump fired him last year, has built a liberal following. He addressed the idea of running for attorney general last month on his podcast.

“I think politics is not really for me, but it’s an important job, it’s an important time so we’ll see,” said Bharara, who is also a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Before he registered as a Democrat, the Reform Party in New York had hoped to recruit Bharara onto its ticket, endorsing him prospectively at a party gathering last month. But party officials could not reach Bharara to accept their spot on the ballot.

“No luck reaching him,” Curtis Sliwa, the Reform Party chairman, said in an email.

Bharara was not a registered voter during his roughly eight years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, a period in which he aggressively prosecuted political corruption, indicting the top two lawmakers in Albany, one Democrat and one Republican, and a top aide to Cuomo.

If remaining unregistered kept him at arm’s length from electoral politics, it also means he did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential campaign, an issue opponents could raise in a Democratic primary.

Records show Bharara was previously registered as a Democrat in Maryland and in New York.