NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed Scott Stringer in his race against Eliot Spitzer for city comptroller.
Gillibrand, who rarely endorses in a Democratic primary, said on Monday that Stringer is “clearly the best choice” for the financial watchdog position. She singled out Stringer’s “temperament and judgment,” praise that was likely a swipe at the former New York governor’s track record.
There is a history of bad blood between Gillibrand and Spitzer, dating to her 2009 appointment to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Spitzer said he would not have appointed Gillibrand “under any circumstance” because her “views on issues are either too wrong or malleable.”
Gillibrand was appointed by Spitzer’s successor, Gov. David Paterson. She won re-election in 2010.
Stringer, the Manhattan borough president appeared to be running unopposed for controller until Spitzer’s stunning entry into the race two weeks ago. Spitzer, who resigned his office in 2008 after admitting he paid for sex with prostitutes, is now attempting a political comeback and is ahead of Stringer in the polls.
News that Gillibrand, the state’s most powerful female politician, was offering an endorsement came just as three prominent women’s groups – NOW-NYC, Planned Parenthood New York and NARAL Pro-Choice New York – also backed Stringer.
The Spitzer campaign downplayed the endorsements.
“While we have a deep respect for the organizations and individuals involved, we know that endorsements don’t vote, voters do,” said Miriam Hess, a senior strategist for the Spitzer campaign.
Meanwhile, Spitzer continued to eschew campaign events where he would interact with voters, instead continuing a schedule of conducting nationally televised interviews. He was set to appear on a taping of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, following a week in which when he appeared on shows ranging from PBS’ “The Charlie Rose Show” to Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
The Democratic primary is Sept. 10.
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