‘Sheriff of Wall St’ seeks political comeback after prostitution scandal
Eliot Spitzer enters race to be New York’s next financial watchdog
Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer: asked New Yorkers for forgiveness and a second chance over the prostitution scandal that forced him into the political wilderness for more than five years. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has become the latest former politician to seek a comeback following scandal by announcing that he plans to run for the job of the New York City comptroller.
The Democrat, who resigned in 2008 after he was caught in a prostitution scandal, met voters in Manhattan yesterday, seeking 3,750 signatures to stand as a candidate in the election for comptroller.
Best known as the state’s hard-nosed attorney general and “the sheriff of Wall Street” who took on corporate fraud in the financial industry, Spitzer asked New Yorkers for forgiveness and a second chance over the scandal that forced him into the political wilderness for more than five years.
The married father of three said he would point to his record as attorney general and governor and to his work in the period since he resigned.
“I sinned. I owned up to it. I looked them in the eye. I resigned. I held myself accountable. I think that was the only right thing to do. It is now five years later,” he told the CBS This Morning programme.
Spitzer conceded that the campaign would lead to the details of the prostitution scandal being re-aired but that his desire for public service would outweigh the strain.
“Politics is a contact sport. This one takes a unique toll on the family,” he said. “You need fortitude. You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros has and you need a desire to service the public.”
Spitzer would be running against several candidates, including the prominent Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, who has raised more than $3.5 million for his campaign.
Another candidate is former madam Kristin Davis who once ran three escort services and claims to have provided prostitutes to Spitzer.
“This is going to be the funnest campaign ever,” she told the New York Daily News. “I’ve been waiting for my day to face him for five years.”
The former governor was famously referred to as “Client 9” by the FBI in US federal court documents which outlined how he had spent thousands of dollars on escorts following the investigation into the high-end prostitution scandal.
Spitzer, if elected, would be the latest former public office-holder to attempt political resurrection.
In May former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was re-elected to a congressional seat four years after a high-profile adultery affair.
Former US congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned his seat in Congress in 2011 after sending sexually suggestive photographs of himself to women on Twitter, is leading in the polls to become the next mayor of New York.
Spitzer, who entered the race with four days to spare before nominations closed, said that his decision to seek public office again was not encouraged by the support Sanford or Weiner had received.
“I have seen those, but I don’t ever draw conclusions from other races. Everyone is different,” he told the New York Times.