After five years out of the political arena, former New York governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer announced that he will run for city comptroller, the New York Times reported Sunday.
Spitzer resigned his post in 2008 when the Times reported that he had been involved with a high-end prostitution ring. But, Spitzer is trusting voters to overlook his past and support him in this fall’s election. “I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,” he said in the telephone interview with the Times.
His announcement follows a similar path to that of former congressman and mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner — both politicians endured public scandals over their sexual indiscretions. While Spitzer declined to comment if Weiner’s position in the polls — which is near tied with Christine Quinn — impacted his decision to run. He said he was motivated to run by members of the public who approach him and voice their support.
While Spitzer’s father grew up on the Lower East Side, Eliot Spitzer was raised in a non-religious home. In 2008 Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant who worked on several of Spitzer’s campaigns told the Forward: “He was more WASP than he was Jew…He was much more comfortable in Princeton than in an Orthodox synagogue.” Despite this, Spitzer polled well among New York Jews in the past.
Spitzer, who was tough on Wall Street during his tenure as attorney general plans to transform the “comptroller’s office into a robust agency that would not merely monitor and account for city spending, as it does now, but conduct regular inquiries into the effectiveness of government policies, in areas like education,” says the Times.
“The metaphor is what I did with the attorney general’s office,” he said. “It is ripe for greater and more exciting use of the office’s jurisdiction.”
Since resigning as governor, Spitzer has worked as a television commentator and authored an e-book. His campaign will be sending over 100 people out on to the streets on Monday to collect the 3,750 signatures needed by Thursday to put his name on the ballot.