NYC Councilwoman Tish James has thrown her support behind Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s AG bid, saying he’s the only candidate in the field with a “real record of standing up for working women.”

“As a lifelong progressive, he’s fought for equal pay for equal work, reproductive freedom and ending discrimination against women by insurance companies,” James said in a statement released by the senator’s campaign.

“Eric Schneiderman understands that working moms shouldn’t be made to choose between their families and careers, and he’ll staff his Attorney General office accordingly.”

That last line is intended as a swipe at Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, who came under fire during her first year in the DA’s office for telling women in her office who had been working part-time to care for their children either to return to work full-time or not return at all.

This earned Rice a critical editorial from the Times, which said:

“But if Ms. Rice wants to bring her office into the present day, she needs to confront the reality that some of those skilled, hard-charging lawyers will be devoted parents, too. If she wants to attract and keep the best talent, job flexibility and inventiveness will only make her workplace more appealing.”

“Ms. Rice’s best and brightest should not have to fear making unpalatable choices when a baby comes along.”

It’s also worth noting that James hails from Brooklyn. The borough’s Democratic Party endorsed Rice prior to the convention in Rye, but Schneiderman has made in-roads there and has a number of key Brooklyn backers, the most notable of which is Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson.

Now that the legislative session is more or less over (for the moment, anyway) and Schneiderman is no longer burning up the miles between Albany and NYC, expect the back-and-forth between his campaign and Rice’s to heat up significantly.

UPDATE: A rather lengthy response from Rice spokesman Eric Phillips:

“During District Attorney Rice’s first term, she created one of the most progressive flex- and part-time prosecutor policies in the entire state. It’s a policy that keeps the community safe and provides an alternative schedule to employees who need it, not one or the other like the policy of District Attorney Rice’s predecessor.”

“District Attorney Rice eliminated the office’s historic 33 percent gender pay gap, appointed the first women executives in the office’s 112-year history and now, under her leadership, half of the office’s managers are women. These facts speak for themselves.”

“Unlike District Attorney Rice, state Senator Schneiderman has never managed a law enforcement agency or an office of attorneys, and he’s never had to make the tough decisions that balance the needs of the community with the needs of prosecutors.”

“What’s clear here is that one candidate has made the tough management decisions that will be required of the next AG, while another candidate has spent his career immersed in Albany politics and focused on political distortions.”