Morgenthau Endorses Vance, Dismisses ‘Gossip’

Retiring Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau formally endorsed a candidate to replace him, Cy Vance, saying the former assistant district attorney is “the best qualified.”

Morgenthau said he would "do whatever I can to be helpful” to Vance’s campaign. Speaking at a press conference this morning on the steps of the New York County Court, Morgenthau, who turns 90 this year, also said one of the reasons he didn’t seek reelection is that there are “too many cases pending in the office.”

When asked if he was permitted by law to make an endorsement, Morgenthau said rules by the New York State Bar Association “state unequivocally that an incumbent DA who is not running for re-election may support a successor.”

With respect to his campaign war chest, Morgenthau said he was not permitted to hand it over to Vance’s campaign, and that he "intend[s] to spend it wisely.”

Morgenthau said reports that he’s displeased with Vance’s campaign performance so far is “like most campaign gossip: untrue.”

When I asked Morgenthau why he was making the announcement now, he said, “I was waiting for the first day of summer with no rain.”

While speaking to reporters on the steps of the court after the event, Morgenthau said Vance “doesn’t like to stick his chest out and say, 'I’m the best.'”

When I asked Morgenthau to asses Vance’s chances of winning the race—his competition includes Morgenthau’s 2005 opponent Leslie Crocker Snyder and attorney Richard Aborn—he said, “I think they’re very good. Very good.”

Morgenthau Endorses Vance, Dismisses ‘Gossip’