Can Disgraced Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer Come Back?


Sheinkopf says Spitzer can beat Stringer because he can "attack him" and "outspend" him thanks to his funds.

He describes the job as "perfect for Spitzer" because he will have "some enforcement authority, not much, but (comptroller) acts as an oversight performance of audits of city agencies" as well as allowing him to be involved in "public policy prescriptions." The job also oversees the New York City public employee pensions fund.

Spitzer's surprise re-entry into politics won't be easy. There was even a movie made about the scandal titled "Client Nine," which is what he was known as in the scandal's federal affidavit. And the madam that ran the prostitution ring that Spitzer was accused of frequenting, Kristin Davis, also happens to be running for comptroller.

When asked about her candidacy and her charge to him to "Bring it on," Spitzer just chuckled, telling the CBS hosts, "Hey, this is politics."

Longtime New York City Democratic strategist Evan Stavisky, who is unaligned in this race, says it may be "too soon to tell whether he will win, but certainly anybody can win, depending on what happens over the course of the next 70 days, that's a short time."

"Seventy days is an eternity in a political campaign, but not a lot of time to redefine yourself and re-introduce yourself to voters, and unless you do so, you can only be viewed in the context of their existing opinion, which may be good, but may not be good," Stavisky said.

In his pitch to New York City voters on WABC-TV, Spitzer said he hopes "New Yorkers will understand that first, I'm asking for forgiveness that led to my resignation," he said. "But also, I hope they will look for the record I had as attorney general, as governor, as district attorney."

And that, Stavisky says, has to be his "rationale going forward."

"He took on the worst abuses of Wall Street as attorney general and he can do the same thing as comptroller advising the city's pension funds," Stavisky said, explaining what he thought Spitzer's pitch should be. "He took on entrenched institutions and made changes as governor and will do the same auditing power in the comptroller's office. It is up to voters to decide if his past experiences match up with the new job he's running for."

As governor, Spitzer wasn't popular with the state legislature and fought with members of both parties, finding himself with almost no allies in Albany by the time he resigned. It's something that won't help him in this bid, but he did resign almost immediately, not dragging out the scandal in the public eye for longer than necessary or trying to deny the charges, something that could help him during this fight -- if, of course, voters are willing to forgive.

Stavisky does tend to agree with Sheinkopf that running for comptroller is seen as a springboard to the mayoral race, but not always to City Hall, noting almost every comptroller since the early 1970s has run for mayor, including two running now -- Thompson and current comptroller John Liu -- but in that time only one made it to Gracie Mansion.

He also cautions against a blueprint with this run.

"You have to throw out the rule book when you are dealing with the Eliot Spitzer candidacy for New York City comptroller," Stavisky said, putting it succinctly.

ABC News' Josh Haskell contributed to this report.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Director Wes Craven attends the screening of Life Itself at the ArcLight Cinemas, June 26, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif.
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Kanye West accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images