Calls For Paterson To Resign, As He Bows From Race

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[Breaking: New York State]

As widely anticipated, New York governor David Paterson has announced today that he won't run to seek a full term as the state's chief executive, presumably paving the way for State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The governor’s announcement wasn't surprising given the damning report in The New York Times this week that he may have intervened in a domestic dispute case involving a top aide and his ex-girlfriend who had sought an order of protecting, alleging she was beaten up last year on Halloween.

The Times' report said the woman didn't show up for a final order of protection hearing after the governor personally spoke with her by telephone, a day before the court date. The case was dismissed due to her non-appearance. The governor has endured a series of negative media reports, including what he claimed were "unsubstantiated" rumors of womanizing.

"There are times in politics when you have to know not to strive for service but to step back, and that moment has come for me," Paterson, said, on exiting from the race today. "I cannot run for office and try to manage the state's business at the same time, and right now New York State needs a leader who can devote full time to this service," he added, of his intention to serve out his full term. Paterson added: "I have never abused my office, not now, not ever."

Paterson became governor after Eliot Spitzer resigned over a prostitution scandal. He had recently on CNN declared that he wouldn't resign and would only leave "in a box."

Even with his announcement of abandoning the race for a full term today, there were still calls for Paterson to step down immediately as governor.

"We have a $4.1 billion budget deficit to grapple with in New York City and cannot make real progress until the State budget is resolved on time one month from now. In order for this to happen, we need Governor Paterson to step down now,"

New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, said in a statement.

"Richard Ravitch has an abundance of integrity, experience and creativity. As Governor, Richard Ravitch would be the person most able to steer clear of politics, bring people together, and bring about a balanced, on-time state budget," Liu said, referring to the lieutenant governor.

The comptroller added: "I have stood by my friend and Governor David Paterson until today. David Paterson is a fighter whose commitment to the overall well-being of New Yorkers is without doubt, and deserves our thanks for his service.  Given New York's precarious fiscal situation and the investigation involving the Governor, even if self-imposed, New York should move forward under Governor Ravitch."

Meanwhile, Rick Lazio, the Republican candidate for governor also called for Paterson to step aside.

"This is another sad chapter in New York State government," Lazio said. "It's dysfunctional, it's broken and it doesn't work. It's exactly why we need someone not tied to the Albany culture to bring the sweeping change we deserve."

Cuomo, who is expected to announce his run soon atop the Democratic ticket, in a statement said: "I am sure this is a difficult choice and a sad day for the Governor and his family. It is in the best interests of all New Yorkers that the state government function through this difficult time and address the pressing budgetary problems we face. This is an election year and I will announce my plans at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on my job as Attorney General and the many important issues we are pursuing."

The State Democratic Chair, Jay Jacobs, said: "Governor Paterson entered office under extraordinary circumstances, immediately faced a financial crisis of historic proportions and has managed to keep New York State solvent while amassing an impressive record of accomplishments. The Governor's action today reminds us of what it means to be a true public servant by putting the people first."

Jacobs is now expected to formally endorse a Cuomo candidacy.

While Paterson did inherit tremendous challenges, his campaign had appeared doomed when The White House last last year made it known that Cuomo who is well ahead in most polls, was the president's preferred candidate.



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