NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eliot Spitzer has launched explosive allegations against his own party.
The former New York governor claims a group of Democrats is trying to prevent him from getting on the ballot for city comptroller. It’s a race against time to collect the signatures he needs to run, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.
Spitzer must be a pretty scary guy because his entry into the Democratic primary for comptroller has mobilized union officials and Democratic Party insiders to mount a blatant campaign to intimidate people from helping him run.
“The thing that has emerged over the past couple of days is the coalitions that have been trying to force people not to work for me,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer is in a last-minute mad dash to qualify for the ballot. He has 100 well-paid people helping him collect the necessary 3,750 signatures. Friends were to hold a petition party Wednesday night. He told CBS 2’s Kramer the effort to keep him off the ballot represents all that’s bad in the New York political process — a process that has seen dozens of elected officials charged in corruption cases.
“That speaks to part of what’s wrong with the decision-making power structure of what’s going on out there and why we need an independent voice as comptroller. We need somebody who’s not going be in the sway of the folks who are trying to keep people off the ballot and cut deals,” Spitzer said.
Pundits say the so-called “anti-Spitzer coalition,” the people who want to see Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer get the job, are afraid of the former governor’s candidacy, Kramer reported.
“Because he’s a threat. Anybody of Spitzer’s stature and name recognition and real smarts is a problem, so clearly they got to stop him and the best way to stop him is to stop him early,” Baruch College’s Doug Muzzio said.
Meanwhile, Stringer was on a search-and-destroy mission Wednesday, charging that Spitzer, who left office in a prostitution scandal, was a failure as governor and lacked temperament.
“Listen, he is technically competent. The question is, is he right for this position? This is not about being a sheriff. This is about being a steward,” Stringer said. “His governorship wasn’t the most successful and I think you don’t reward failure. I just don’t think that skill of dividing of temperament of trying to steamroll people is what the job of comptroller is.”
The rubber will meet the road for Spitzer on Thursday night at midnight. That’s when his petitions are due and that’s when we’ll find out whether he’ll really be on the ballot.
WOMEN’S GROUPS GIVING SPITZER FITS
And while Spitzer is trying to get his signatures, he’s not likely to get any from women’s groups, WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reported.
Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter, said Wednesday that voters need to think about Spitzer’s business with the sex trade, which she said enslaves and abuses women.
The Spitzer campaign said the ex-governor has acknowledged his failings and apologized. The campaign added that he has a long record as a progressive.
But Ossorio said the primary season is moving fast and there’s little opportunity to re-write history now.
“He’s had five years to do that. I haven’t seen that. I don’t see the good works. I don’t see where he’s actually owned up,” Ossorio said in front of City Hall.
Spitzer was never criminally charged as the notorious Client No. 9, something Ossorio said happens all the time with men in prostitution cases.
It is a race against the clock for Spitzer, whose campaign is paying canvassers up to $800 a day to gather valid signatures, according to reports.
When asked about the signature drive, Spitzer told CBS2′s Kramer “those who know don’t say. Those who say don’t know. So I’m going to keep my lips sealed other than to say I think we’ll be more than fine.”
Spitzer added to Murnane “anybody who is trying to spin that must be worried about what’s going to happen once I get on the ballot. I think we’ve seen some interesting stories — I don’t know if they’re accurate or not — about people coming together to force people off who don’t want others to work for me and this and that. You know what, [my campaign] is an effort to generate an independent voice who can be the comptroller of the city of New York.”
The primary will be held on Sept. 10.
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