NEW YORK (AP) – The Republican former hedge fund manager who spent more than $3.8 million of his own money to challenge the Democratic incumbent for New York comptroller conceded the race Wednesday.
Harry Wilson, the 39-year-old political newcomer who received more than 1.8 million votes and carried most of the state’s 62 counties, said he will remain active in public affairs, though he didn’t say precisely how.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli had more than 1.9 million votes. He had strong New York City returns and broad union endorsements.
“I am hopeful that our new leaders, whom I congratulate across the board, will address in the months and years ahead the issues we raised throughout this campaign,” Wilson said. “As you all know, I am a big believer in accountability, so I plan to remain involved, to make sure that they do address the problems of our state.”
Wilson said New York has “enormous potential” that only needs government reform to unlock it. In the campaign, the father of four from Scarsdale, who has a Harvard MBA, argued that New York is not financially competitive, loses population to other states, has high taxes, big deficits and underfunded pensions and retiree health care obligations.
He advocated audits of public spending that focused on inefficiency, waste and fraud and include the politically sensitive and major expenses of education, Medicaid and pensions.
Wilson left Silver Point Capital two years ago and worked for the Obama administration on the General Motors restructuring.
The comptroller is the state’s chief financial officer, who with a staff of about 2,500 audits state and local government spending and manages the roughly $130 billion retirement fund for public workers.
DiNapoli, a 56-year-old former Long Island assemblyman, was appointed three years ago by the Legislature after Comptroller Alan Hevesi resigned in a scandal. Hevesi recently admitted in court that he favored a financier with business managing part of the pension fund while accepting free travel and campaign contributions.
An attorney general’s investigation found no wrongdoing by DiNapoli, who instituted several fund reforms including banning the use of paid intermediaries.
“We still have enormous challenges ahead of us and an immediate challenge in dealing with our current budget,” DiNapoli said, having frequently faulted state deficit spending and borrowing. “I owe thanks to everyone who has believed in me and in my candidacy over these past few months: the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party and especially my brothers and sisters in the labor movement.”
DiNapoli congratulated Andrew Cuomo, the state attorney general who was elected governor Tuesday, though Cuomo didn’t endorse him.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)