Democrat Letitia James and Republican Keith Wofford, the leading candidates for one of the top legal positions in the country, faced off on Spectrum News on Tuesday night in their only live televised debate before Election Day.

New York's attorney general is seen as one of the top legal positions in the country, especially given the office's numerous legal challenges to the Trump Foundation and administration. But in the wake of former attorney general Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigning in May after multiple women accused him of physical assault, a political vacuum has opened up for the powerful position.

While they both agreed that birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the 14th amendment, here are three topics they clashed over:


James and Wofford didn't exactly share praise about all the lawsuits that the current attorney general, Barbara Underwood, has filed. The Democrat said she supports the litigation, and has promised to serve as a legal check on President Donald Trump.


Wofford wouldn't commit that he would all of the office's litigation against the Trump Foundation if elected attorney general. He said he didn't want New York taxpayers funding politically-motivated litigation, and argued the office's resources would be better used investigating Trump's taxes:



Both candidates said they would crack down on corruption, but James said she wants more legal authority from the legislature to do so. Wofford, meanwhile, chided her, saying the attorney general's office already has legal tools if state officials are embroiled in corruption.

Wofford also hit James for her close relationship to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who she has campaigned with, and the state legislature, saying she would not be a reliable check on them. Wofford argued James's close ties to Cuomo and the state Democratic Party should trouble New Yorkers seeking independence in their state's top lawyer.

"My opponent, Tish James, is not going to go after her brethren and sisters who are Democrats, career politicians, who have been riding around in limousines, benefiting their contributors, and ripping off the public for years," Wofford said.

James argued she would fight against corruption no matter where it comes from.





James argued that Wofford would have conflicts of interest if he is elected, saying his prior experience in private litigation would make him beholden to corporations. Wofford denied the charge.

Recent polls found that the race is closer than expected, with an early-October Siena College poll showing James leading Wofford by 14 percentage points, 50 percent to 36 percent.

James is currently New York City's public advocate. Previously, she had experience with the Legal Aid Society, led the Brooklyn division of the state attorney general's office, and was a New York City councilwoman in Brooklyn, making headlines for winning the seat on a third party line.

Wofford, meanwhile, is running for public office for the first time. He has spent decades in private law, touting that he has recovered billions of dollars from companies in bankruptcy. Most recently, he was a partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Manhattan.

Either James or Wofford would be the first black attorney general in the history of New York.