Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, 88, insists he’ll run for reelection in 2009, but a onetime protégé isn’t so sure. Cyrus Vance Jr., a trial lawyer, filed papers with the state election board last month to start the “Cyrus Vance for District Attorney” committee. “I’m running to succeed Bob Morgenthau,” says Vance, “not to oppose him or attack him.” His first fund-raiser is set for March 6. Some wonder if Morgenthau will retire before his term’s up and lobby Governor Spitzer to choose an interim successor like Vance or Dan Castleman, a longtime top deputy. (Vance and Spitzer are close: They worked for Morgy at the same time, and Vance served on the governor’s transition team and donated over $36,000 to his campaigns.) A midterm appointment would give that person a leg up on Leslie Crocker Snyder, a former judge who infuriated the D.A. by running against him in 2005 and plans to run again in 2009. Vance is careful to note his campaign isn’t a threat to Morgenthau, but his old boss isn’t too thrilled about even the appearance of competition. Says one insider, “You don’t want people picking at your corpse when you still have a pulse.”
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