David Paterson drops reelection bid

NY Governor David Paterson will not seek another term

David Paterson

David Paterson. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Governor of New York State, David Paterson has announced that he will not seek another term as Governor of New York.  Paterson took over the office of previous governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer resigned from office in the wake of a scandal where he had been caught having an extramarital affair with Ashley Dupre, a prostitute, while in office.  Almost from the beginning, his term has been mired in controversy and scandal, and it seems that he may only be able to secure campaign funds with payday loans. It is anticipated that Andrew Cuomo, the State Attorney General, will be running.

Scandal had a fast start

One day into his term as replacement Governor, Paterson and his wife admitted to extramarital affairs.  This causes controversy no matter the politician and no matter the office, but it wasn’t to be the last accusation of impropriety leveled at Paterson.

Inheriting deficits, financial crisis

When Spitzer resigned, Paterson inherited a state with a budget deficit reaching critical mass and a financial crisis originating from Wall Street.  The first item on his agenda was to shore up the budget through spending cuts, but was unsuccessful as both houses of New York’s State Congress were deadlocked, and couldn’t pass anything of consequence.  His nomination for replacing Hilary Clinton’s seat in the Senate was seen as a slap in the face to Kennedy loyalists, who wanted to see Caroline Kennedy take her place in the long standing Kennedy tradition of Congressional service. The inability to curb the deficit heavily contributed to opinion polls, which revealed a growing lack of confidence in David Paterson as governor by April of 2009, in which 60% of New Yorkers felt he wasn’t up to the job.

Recent Accusations

Recently, one of Governor Patersons’ top aides was involved in a domestic violence complaint. David Johnson, one of Patersons’ top aides allegedly assaulted his live in girlfriend, and instead of letting police handle the matter as it should have been, Paterson had State Police troopers from his personal detail look into the matter.  Allegedly, the victim was spoken to by State Police and by Paterson himself, persuading her not to file a restraining order against Johnson.  The order was never put in place, and critics have posited that the incident constitutes an ethics violation.  Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Denise O’Donnell, resigned out of protest. Perhaps he’ll need a cash advance for a lawyer as well.

Political reality

Any governor anywhere would be hard pressed to find enough support for re-election in those circumstances, and perhaps dropping the campaign was the right thing to do.  Paterson himself cited becoming “realistic about politics,” which is perhaps a good thing for any elected official to do when faced with voters that believe them to have dropped the ball in office.

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