Prominent Democrats Question Paterson's Ability To Govern
Governor David Paterson's decision on Friday to not seek re-election was embraced by the state's Democratic establishment, but some top officials want Paterson to immediately step down from his office. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
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According to some Democrats, Governor David Paterson's decision to abandon his short-lived election campaign does not go far enough.
City Comptroller John Liu, the city's top fiscal watchdog, said that Paterson is so wounded that he should leave Albany altogether.
"It's time for him to step down and allow [Lieutenant Governor] Richard Ravitch to assume the governship so we can arrive at a balanced on-time budget," said Liu.
Other prominent Democrats agree. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says the only way Paterson can stay on is if he fires State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt, seen right, and overhauls the entire department.
"He needs to take action right now to show us he's in a position to lead. If he is unwilling to take resolute action, it means he's no longer to serve as governor and he should step down," said de Blasio.
Paterson's longtime supporters caution New Yorkers not to rush to judgment and instead wait until the attorney general's investigation wraps up.
Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright stands by Paterson and his decision.
"He has had a long conversation with himself, and it's a true testament that he's answered himself and has come up with what he thinks to be a good, good decision," said Wright.
Others allies believe that with the weight of a political campaign off his shoulders, Paterson can zero in on governing.
"Let's focus on the 308 days going forward. Let's finish the agenda," said the Reverend Al Sharpton.
One concern among Democrats is that Paterson, long considered a politically weak governor, will not have the clout to govern through the end of the year.
"He is a governor who has lost total following, so the state Legislature isn't going to listen to anything he says," said former Mayor Ed Koch.
Such a scenario would leave the state without a strong leader until next year.