Report: N.Y. Gov. David Paterson dropping out of race

Scandal-plagued governor can't withstand pressure after New York Times story, giving up campaign

Published February 26, 2010 3:19PM (EST)

Even as he'd been plagued by scandal, rumors and dismally low ratings recently, New York Gov. David Paterson had remained defiant. Even with speculation about a New York Times investigation said to carry enough weight to end his political career hanging over his head, Paterson announced that he would indeed run for his first full term this year in a campaign he was almost certain to lose.

But earlier this week, after a couple false alarms, that Times story finally hit. And on the heels of the revelations contained therein -- the administration, with the governor himself involved, had been pressing a woman to drop an assault case against a top aide -- Paterson could stand strong no longer.

Both the New York Post and the New York Daily News are reporting that Paterson has decided to drop out of the race. An official announcement is expected later Friday.

The governor's decision clears the Democratic primary field for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who'd been the heavy favorite anyway. It might end up scaring off Republicans too; there was speculation that a primary fight with Paterson would hurt Cuomo with black voters for the general election, but that won't happen now.

Paterson will reportedly not resign his office. If he did, the job would go to Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch.

There's an ironic note to this whole story. Paterson only became governor because he was lieutenant governor when the Times revealed then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's use of an escort service. Now Paterson himself has been taken down by the Times as well.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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