Spitzer Faces Hurdles in Comeback Bid

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 06:59 PM

By John Gizzi

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Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's attempt to win the Democratic nomination for city comptroller of New York faces several hurdles.

To get on the September primary ballot, Spitzer must collect 3,750 valid signatures of registered Democratic voters in the city by Thursday. If certified for the primary ballot, the former governor must then overcome Bronx Borough President Scott Stringer, who switched from a race for mayor to one for comptroller. Incumbent Comptroller John Liu is leaving the office to run for mayor.

Spitzer, of course, was forced to step down as governor in 2009 after admitting he had paid for the services of a call girl. Since then, he has dabbled in various efforts, most notably co-hosting a TV talk show with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Kathleen Parker, with whom he parted company after a few months.

Days before Spitzer made his surprise announcement, former Wall Street executive John Burnett declared for the Republican nomination for controller. Burnett, a Harlem native, has an impressive rags-to-riches story — from selling cookies for a living to graduating with honors from New York University to executive positions with firms such as Dean Witter and McGraw Hill.

The last time someone won a citywide office in New York aside from mayor on the Republican ticket was 1969, when Democrat Sanford D. Garelik was elected city council president on the GOP line. But, as one wag put it, "if I were Burnett, I would be praying that Spitzer wins the Democratic primary."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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