Anthony Weiner won’t be the only disgraced politician running for citywide office this primary season.
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from the position five years ago following a prostitution scandal, is planning a political comeback with a bid for city comptroller.
“I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday, July 8 with The New York Times.
The same night, he discussed his intentions to run on Twitter through the handle @SpitzerForNYC.
“As a former governor and attorney general, I believe I have the right record to continue fighting for the people of #NYC as comptroller,” a tweet on the account stated.
The Democratic candidate will need to gather at least 3,750 signatures from registered party voters by Thursday to make it onto the September primary ballot.
In the primary, he will face front-runner Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who has already picked up numerous endorsements.
Other potential opponents include Republican John Burnett, who has worked on Wall Street, Green Party candidate and former school teacher Julia Willebrand and former madam Kristin Davis.
A Libertarian candidate, Davis spent time in jail for her role in the Spitzer prostitution scandal.
Though he was caught on wire tap arranging for high-end hookers, Spitzer did not end up facing any criminal charges. But after it was publicly revealed that he spent thousands on prostitution services — and as threats of impeachment loomed — he resigned as governor in March 2008.
Since his resignation, Spitzer, 54, has stayed away from political office, but not the spotlight. He has hosted a primetime show on CNN and Current TV and been a commentator on NY1.
But his five years out of office are not enough for some Queens residents to give Spitzer a second chance.
“I can’t believe he’s actually putting himself back in the public eye after what he did,” said Vic McKinney. “I think it’s insulting to the voters and I hope he doesn’t get elected for anything.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to run,” said Alexander Ciccione. “But since Weiner is running again and he seems to be getting a decent amount of popularity, maybe Spitzer thinks he should try to make a comeback, too.”
Others were more forgiving of the former governor.
“I think it’s OK for Spitzer to run. He seems like he regrets what he did and should be given a second chance,” said Mandee Crenshaw. “I know a lot of other people won’t feel the same way, but I don’t see what harm he could do as a comptroller, so I think a comeback is possible for him.”
-With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton
Updated Monday, July 8