Eliot Spitzer to Run for New York City Comptroller

The former governor resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal

By Melissa Russo and Katherine Creag
|  Friday, Aug 23, 2013  |  Updated 11:30 AM CDT
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Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer talks about his decision to run for New York City comptroller and whether the resurgence of former congressman Anthony Weiner influenced his choice.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer talks about his decision to run for New York City comptroller and whether the resurgence of former congressman Anthony Weiner influenced his choice.

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Eliot Spitzer Resigns Amid Prostitution Scandal

Eliot Spitzer announces his resignation in 2008 as governor of New York amid a prostitution scandal.
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Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York in 2008 after he was caught on a wiretap arranging to meet a prostitute, will attempt to revive his political career by running for comptroller of New York City, NBC 4 New York has confirmed.

Spitzer, a Democrat, plans to meet voters Monday to collect petition signatures to get on the ballot. He said he hopes voters will give him a chance.

"I want them to know I'm asking their forgiveness," Spitzer said Sunday night.

Spitzer has spoken in the past about the potential for the comptroller's job to look into corporate misdeeds. That would be similar to what he did as the state's attorney general, where he was known for prosecuting cases involving financial fraud.

"It's a question of, 'Are we getting our money's worth where we have policies in education, health care ...," Spitzer said Monday. "Politics is an exciting an endeavor as one can pursue because it matters. I'm excited to be asking every voter one by one for both forgiveness and for support. We have lots of work to do."  

Spitzer needs to collect at least 3,750 signatures from registered voters by Thursday.

Asked whether the resurgence of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in June 2011 amid a Twitter sexting scandal and is now widely considered a front-runner in the race for New York City mayor, affected his decision to run for comptroller, Spitzer said, "I do not draw conclusions from anybody's else's run." 

"I've always believed the public had forgiveness and the public believes in redemption. Whether that will extend to me is a totally separate question, as it should be," Spitzer said. "Every race is different; every race should be different. I will be viewed, I hope, based on what I've done as attorney general, as governor, as prosecutor, as a teacher, as a writer -- all those things will come together."

If he collects the requisite signatures, Spitzer will face Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the primary for the office now held by mayoral candidate John Liu, who is running for mayor.

Stringer has been the most prominent among the contenders to become New York City's next fiscal chief. He's raised more than $3.5 million and spent about $566,000, city campaign finance records show.

Spitzer says he would pay for a campaign out of his own pocket and not take part in the city's financing system. He also said he's up for the competition. 

"I believe in competition, whether it's on the baseball field, tennis court -- anywhere in life," Spitzer said. "Politics is no exception, so I'm looking forward to asking voters for that opportunity to participate in the process." 

A statement released Sunday night from Stringer's campaign manager, Sascha Owen, took a jab at the former governor.

"Spitzer will spurn campaign finance program to buy personal redemption with his family fortune," the statement said in part.

Others in the race for comptroller include Republican John Burnett, who has worked on Wall Street in various finance capacities and just recently declared his candidacy; Green Party candidate Julia Willebrand, a former teacher; and former madam Kristin Davis.

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