updated 1/18/2005 10:20:48 AM ET 2005-01-18T15:20:48

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has talked to top state Democrats about a possible run for New York attorney general in what could turn into a race against his estranged brother-in-law Andrew Cuomo, according to people familiar with those conversations.

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Among those consulted by Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and son of slain New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and current Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, said the people familiar with the talks. They spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Kennedy did not return telephone messages left for him Tuesday at his home and office.

There was no immediate comment Monday from Clinton, and Spitzer declined comment, as did Cuomo, the former federal housing secretary and elder son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo and Kennedy's sister, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, separated in 2003.

Kennedy Jr. has been active in New York politics and briefly considered running for the U.S. Senate seat won by Clinton in 2000. The seat was held by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who announced in late 1998 that he would not run for re-election.

"It's a seat that I would love to occupy," Kennedy said at the time, "but I have five young kids."

Democrat Spitzer announced last month that he would run for governor in 2006.

Several other Democrats already have said they may run for the attorney general's job, including Cuomo and Mark Green, the party's unsuccessful 2001 candidate for New York City mayor.

"If Bobby got into the race, he would have to be considered a strong candidate," said Charlie King, a potential attorney general candidate who unsuccessfully sought the party's nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002.

Kennedy has been one of the leading environmental activists in New York state for more than two decades. He has been a strong advocate for closing down the Indian Point nuclear power plant complex just north of New York City.

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