Eliot Spitzer says he has overwhelmingly collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in September's democratic primary for city comptroller, and he's using the achievement to promote himself as an outsider able to reject naysayers in his bid for political redemption. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Eliot Spitzer sees meaning in crossing an often overlooked bureaucratic hurdle.
"Twenty-seven-thousand signatures. This is a demonstration of popular support for a candidacy," he said.
It was well more than the nearly 4,000 signatures he needed.
Spitzer brought them into the Board of Elections less than 90 minutes from the deadline. It was a flourish intended to show that the former governor is now a scrappy underdog, undeterred by party bosses.
"We don't believe that people from above get to keep people on or off, get candidates off by cutting deals," he said. "This is a demonstration of what it means when citizens come together to sign petitions."
His petitions near 100,000, rival Scott Stringer was delivering vegetables Thursday, part of a new fresh produce plan.
The Manhattan borough president said that volunteers did his signature collecting. Spitzer tapped his considerable wealth to hire canvassers.
"We're going to do what's right for the people supporting me," Stringer said. "A hundred thousand people signed my petition, and we didn't have to pay anybody."
Stringer is expected to have his legal team look at Spitzer's signatures. Problems with them could keep the former governor from making the ballot.
Asked about the prospect, Spitzer all but dared his prospective rival to do it.
"Any challenge to this would indeed be frivolous," he said.
"It's kind of hypocritical to even think about challenging my high standard of participatory democracy when the former champion of campaign finance reform has shown his true colors," Stringer said.
Stringer said it's awfully rich for Spitzer to take the populist stand, considering he's using his family fortune to bankroll a bid at political redemption.
Spitzer has been blitzing the airwaves since announcing he'd run Sunday.
The butt of late night jokes, he'll appear with Jay Leno friday night in Los Angeles, along with a guest who may recognize his laugh, as Bill Hader, who portrayed Spitzer on Saturday Night Live, is also on the show.
Stringer's team noted that while Spitzer is in LA, Stringer will meet with voters in New York.