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Returning to public service after more than six years in the political wilderness was difficult for Spitzer, who never hid from the spotlight and even joked about his mistakes on camera and at political events.
“Politics is a contact sport. So many areas are. This one takes a unique toll on my family. I’ve imposed that toll. I’m very conscious of that and it’s not easy,” he said.
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, when he was known as the “sheriff of Wall Street.”
Since his resignation, the married father of three has returned to public life as a commentator, with shows on CNN, Current TV and NY1.
He said he hoped city voters would give him a chance, saying he had “sinned,” “owned up to it” and hopes the public will judge him on his record in public service.
“I’m asking the public for forgiveness, for a shot to serve once again,” he told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
He said he would focus on public policy discussions, the city budget and corporate governance, much as he did as state attorney general for two terms before he was elected governor in 2006. He wrote a book on improving the governance of corporations, which is due out in a week.
“I hope the record I had as attorney general, standing up in the public interest, will be enough to persuade the public to give me a second shot,” Spitzer told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman.
He said he’d discussed his potential run with his wife and daughters before making the decision over the weekend. He said he has no plans for office beyond city comptroller.
Many voters seemed torn about giving Spitzer a second chance.
“He is really disgraceful,” said Upper East Side resident Yvonne Fitzpatrick.
“If the guy has talents and he wants to use them to help New York, he certainly proved that he could,” said West Village resident Kushel Malhotra. “People deserve second chances.”
When asked why he was offering his signature to Spitzer, Andrew Fine told CBS 2′s Kramer, “Because everybody has a right to make a choice, that’s the bottom line, and whether you vote for this man or not he should be on the ballot and get the signatures, freedom of choice.”
Current Comptroller John Liu is running for mayor.
Manhattan Borough President Scott 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, while his opponents have yet to report any fundraising or spending.
“You need someone with a steady hand, who’s grounded, who has maturity, who thinks about the long term. This race is not about me, myself and I. This race is about the people of the city who are struggling,” Stringer said.
Spitzer’s potential opponents 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, who once ran three escort services and claims to have provided hookers to Spitzer, which hasn’t been proven.
“I would say I’m the most honest of all of them,” Davis said when asked to compare her candidacy to Spitzer and Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. “Everything about me has already come out. I’ve served my time. They’re just career politicians looking for their next in.”
Former Rep. Weiner left office two years ago amid a scandal over his racy tweets to strangers.
Paterson noted many once-disgraced politicians are seeking – and in at least one case, attaining — a comeback in politics.
“It certainly is a fascinating situation that’s coming here now about the redemption factor because you’ve now got Gov. [Mark] Sanford (R-S.C.) who was successful [in being elected to Congress], former congressman [Anthony] Weiner who is embroiled in a close race, but at one point was ahead in the polls, and you’ve got Gov. Spitzer who is looking to be successful as well,” Paterson told WCBS 880. “I don’t think this all could have happened some years ago.”
Spitzer first shared his intentions to run in Sunday’s New York Times.
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