Robert Morgenthau to Retire as Manhattan DA
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 09:36:37 AM EST
Notwithstanding the fact that he is 89 years old, I'm pretty shocked that New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau will be retiring after nearly 35 years in office.
Robert M. Morgenthau, the long-serving Manhattan district attorney and an institution in New York City politics, will not run for re-election this year, a person told of his decision said on Friday.
His departure marks a changing of the guard and opens one of Manhattan's plum elected posts for the first time in decades -- a major draw in a year when the overturning of term limits has left many of the city's ambitious younger politicians pondering their future.
The retirement of Mr. Morgenthau, 89, who has held his office since 1975, has become a topic of increasing speculation in conversation in Democratic political circles. In his last re-election, Mr. Morgenthau faced a spirited challenge from Leslie Crocker Snyder, a former state court judge. He beat her handily, but she vowed to go against him again in the fall elections.
Many will know Morgenthau, the son of FDR's Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and the grandson on Woodrow Wilson's ambassador to the Ottomans during the Great War, as the model for the surly yet wise Adam Schiff character on "Law and Order." Others might remember him as the head of the team that indicted Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski. Suffice it to say that after more than three decades, Morgenthau will be leaving a big hole in New York City politics. It should be interesting to see how the race to replace him -- basically the Democratic primary -- will play out.