Spitzer: Don't Compare Me to Anthony Weiner

By Colby Hamilton on July 8, 2013 1:11am 

 Eliot Spitzer speaks during Dish Network War Of The Words press conference at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 13, 2012 in New York City.
Eliot Spitzer speaks during Dish Network War Of The Words press conference at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 13, 2012 in New York City.
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Kris Connor/Getty Images for Dish Network

NEW YORK CITY — Almost immediately after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced he was running for city comptroller, social media lit up comparing his run to that of Anthony Weiner.

Both resigned in disgrace — Spitzer after being connected to a high-end prostitution ring and Weiner after sending lurid tweets — and both were seeking redemption through a citywide campaign. But the former governor isn't interested in comparisons.

"I'm not sure it's an issue I will address," he said.

In an interview with DNAinfo New York on the night he announced his candidacy, which was first reported by The New York Times, Spitzer said Weiner's campaign was a factor in his calculations only as he "examined in great detail" the political field in the context of "the entire tableau in the political life that's going on out there."

Spitzer, 54, hoped voters would forgive him for the 2008 scandal that forced him from office. The former "sheriff of Wall Street" also looked forward to using the comptroller's position to go "beyond auditing paper clips."

He pointed to the power the city's pension funds have in the companies they invest in, as well as the ability to audit the city's finances as the tools he planned to use should he get elected.

He added that he wanted to use the city's top financial officer position to play a "affirmative and creative role" in the city, doing "to the comptroller's office like he did to the [attorney general]'s office."

Spitzer said he began thinking about getting into the city comptroller's race only "about 48 hours" before making his decision, but said he'd been interested in the job ever since leaving office.

"It was a decision based on what the office is and what I hope to bring to the office," Spitzer said.

Spitzer has until Thursday to collect nearly 4,000 valid signatures — and likely many more in case of legal challenges to the validity of those signatures — to get on the ballot. If he does, he'll be facing Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who ended his bid for mayor in November to run for comptroller.

Stringer's campaign took to Twitter Sunday night to blast Spitzer, but the former governor said he's not interested in attacking his opponent.

"I'm not going to say anything critical of Scott," Spitzer said, referring to Stringer as "a friend" of many years. "Competition doesn't mean that you speak ill of the others in the field."

Entering the race at such a late stage means much, if not all, of the Democratic institutional support like labor unions, political clubs and elected official endorsements have been consumed by the Stringer campaign. Spitzer said his past experience in primary battles has left him confident in his chances.

"Endorsements don't vote, voters do," he said.

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