Home   Search  

View Full Site

Rival won't challenge Spitzer's NY ballot names


July 12. 2013 6:37PM
Associated Press


Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is surrounded by media as he tries to collect signatures for his run for New York City Comptroller in New York, Monday, July 8, 2013. Spitzer, who stepped down in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, says he is planning a political comeback with a run for New York City comptroller. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(AP) Eliot Spitzer's leading rival said Friday he wouldn't challenge the tarnished ex-governor's petitions to run for city comptroller, leaving Spitzer's surprise comeback campaign a clearer path toward the Democratic primary this fall.


After a four-day flurry of canvassing, Spitzer said his campaign submitted over 27,000 signatures to the city Board of Elections just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday, ahead of a midnight deadline. He needs just 3,750 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.


Other contenders or voters can contest a candidate's signatures for reasons ranging from an ambiguous address to a canvasser who's not registered in the candidate's party. But Democratic comptroller hopeful Scott Stringer, who was a heavy favorite in the comptroller's race before Spitzer got into it Monday, said he had no plans to contest Spitzer's signatures and would encourage supporters not to do so, either.


"I'm not someone who challenges petitions," Stringer, who is currently Manhattan's borough president, said while greeting voters Friday in downtown Brooklyn. "Let's get into the fight now."


While they won't face Spitzer in the primary, Republican candidate John Burnett and Libertarian Kristin Davis, a former madam who has criticized Spitzer, also said through aides that they wouldn't challenge his petitions.


Spitzer's campaign said in a statement Friday he "looks forward to making the case every day for an independent comptroller for the City of New York."


Spitzer himself was in California for an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" ''Tonight Show," a trip into the lion's den of late-night comedy for a candidate whose 2008 resignation amid a prostitution scandal has provided no shortage of fuel for gibes. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bill Hader, who did an impression of Spitzer in a 2010 skit, was also scheduled to appear.


Leno gleefully seized on Spitzer's newborn candidacy earlier this week, particularly relishing the fact that Davis is also a contender.


"There's a tough choice for the voters, huh? I mean, one is involved in the most degrading profession of all time, and the other ran a whorehouse," Leno said during Monday's opening monologue.


The show has provided a stage before for candidates launching unexpected campaigns: Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his ultimately successful run for California governor on Leno's set in 2003. The program also has been a memorable forum for public figures' atonement moments, as when actor Hugh Grant made his first TV appearance after he was arrested with a prostitute in 1995.


Spitzer's last-minute, self-financed candidacy hurled a curveball into what had seemed a straightforward race for the city's top financial post, one that conducts audits and invests huge city employee pension funds.


He quickly jumped to a 42 percent-to-33 percent lead among registered Democrats, including those leaning toward but not settled on a candidate, according to a The Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll taken in the first two days of his campaign.


Pundits, and even Spitzer himself, had said it would be a challenge to get the needed signatures in just four days; other candidates had started in early June. Campaigns generally gather at least two to three times as many signatures as needed, as a cushion in case some are invalidated.


Stringer said he submitted more than 100,000 signatures, all of them gathered by volunteers; Spitzer's campaign paid canvassers.


Burnett, who has worked in various financial capacities on Wall Street, filed about 8,000 signatures and was looking forward to facing whomever wins the Democratic primary, his campaign said.


"We especially wish Eliot the best of luck," the Burnett camp said in a statement Friday.


Green Party candidate Julia Willebrand's campaign didn't immediately respond to messages Thursday and Friday.


___


Associated Press writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


___


Follow Jennifer Peltz at http://twitter.com/jennpeltz


Associated Press


Comments
comments powered by Disqus