Eliot Spitzer is mounting a comeback. The disgraced ex-governor of New York State, who resigned in 2008, is running for New York City comptroller.
He cleared the first hurdle in his unexpected quest to become the city’s accounting and financial chief by filing 27,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
Eliot Spitzer’s political career was all but over until he announced his surprise candidacy for the somewhat random (but still elected and powerful) position.
He far exceeded the threshold of 3,750 signatures required to get on September ballot in the Democratic primary election. He had until midnight to file.
“I want to say thank you to the citizens of New York,” said Spitzer standing in front of four boxes of petitions. “This is a demonstration of popular support.”
His place on the ballot is not yet assured. The signatures must be validated by the city’s Board of Elections and are subject to challenge from opponents.
Signatures can be nixed if a voter already signed another comptroller candidate’s petition, is not a Democrat in NYC or runs afoul of other technicalities.
Because of New York’s tough (some might say arcane) rules, Spitzer needed roughly 15,000 signatures to feel secure that he could stave off challenges.
For comparison, Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president who also seeks the job, submitted approximately 100,000 names on his petition.
Spitzer running for comptroller – an job responsible for auditing a roughly $70 billion budget and managing roughly $140 billion in pension funds – came as a shock.
Political comebacks are nothing new, but the way in which he resigned – getting busted paying prostitute Ashley Dupre – was particularly sordid.
Voters have been unable to escape comparisons between Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, who left Congress in 2011 because of a sexting scandal.
Weiner is running for mayor of New York in 2013.
“You could have a cable TV show,” said Baruch College (N.Y.) public affairs professor Doug Muzzio. “It’s the Real Politicians of New York.”
We’d watch it.