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Stringer Reflects On How He Won Comptroller Primary

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With the Democratic nomination all his, candidate for city comptroller Scott Stringer is taking a breather after his grueling race with Eliot Spitzer. Insiders are also giving their account of how he won, including previously unreported help that Stringer got from Governor Andrew Cuomo. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

New Yorkers know Scott Stringer's old rival, the former governor. But with the nomination sewn up and Eliot Spitzer defeated, Stringer is now the more familiar face.

Stringer and his Republican opponent, John Burnett, met at NY1's studios to talk separately about the general election, with Stringer also giving us a peek at how he won the primary.

"I always felt that if I could get my record out, if I could talk about my vision for the office, and if voters had the opportunity to hear what I had to say, that I thought I would do well," he said.

He got plenty of advice, including from Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose antagonistic relationship with the former governor goes back years. One source says Cuomo advised Stringer to zero in on Spitzer's integrity.

Cuomo never endorsed in the race, and his office only says he was neutral. Stringer declined to comment on talks with Cuomo.

Stringer would take his advice, though, arguing that Spitzer had cloudy judgement ill-suited for the job. The comptroller looks after a multi-billion-dollar pension system and minds the city's finances.

Spitzer, Stringer would argue, was too go-it-alone.

"You need to do two things as the city comptroller," Stringer said. "You have to work with whoever the next mayor is, you have to go market bonds together, making the financial case to the rating agencies that determine what our bond ratings are going to be, you have to be a collaborator, but at the same time, you're doing all that work, you have to be independent."

Politically, at least, Stringer may have benefited from Bill de Blasio. He did well in areas that voted for the mayoral candidate. Turnout was also higher there than in Spitzer strongholds, like in Central Brooklyn.

Echoing Spitzer, Stringer's new rival pokes at his support.

"I'm not an insider. I'm a government outsider," Burnett said. "I don't have people in my pockets, obviously, and I'm not in anyone else's pockets."

Spitzer declined comment, saying he was taking a break from the political world. Observers expect that he'll return to the public eye, but are unsure how.

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