NEW YORK CITY — A New York GOP operative has filed a challenge to block former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's efforts to enter the city comptroller race.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who's also in the comptroller race, and his allies took a pass on challenging the 27,000 signatures Eliot Spitzer dropped off at the board of elections last week required to get him on the ballot. And up until late last night, it looked like the former governor, who resigned over a prostitution scandal in 2008, was all set to make it on to the ballot as a Democratic comptroller candidate.
That was, until E. O’Brien Murray filed general objections against Spitzer’s petitions on Monday just before the deadline.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Murray — the strategist credited with former congressman Bob Turner’s 2011 surprise win in the district formerly held by Anthony Weiner — said he was surprised he was the first to file objections.
“I think there was a perception from a number of people that everyone else thought someone else was doing it,” he said.
Murray said he had reviewed the signatures last week and found a number of issues with Spitzer’s signatures. He now has a few days to come up with specific objections, which he hopes will disqualify Spitzer from running.
“At this point Eliot Spitzer is attempting to re-enter politics the same way he left — with lies, deceit and maybe even fraud and illegal activities,” Murray said. “New Yorkers have had enough of Eliot Spitzer and they deserve better.”
Murray was also critical of Stringer’s decision not to try to take Spitzer down.
“I think Scott Stringer was shortsighted when he was thinking about the best way to go after Eliot Spitzer. He was also at that point trying out for the New York Times endorsement,” Murray said.
In a statement, Spitzer campaign attorney—and former state senator—Martin Connor dismissed the challenge.
"The Spitzer campaign took great care in the petitioning process and filed far more than the number of valid signatures required by law,” Connor said in a statement. “There are no worries in the front-runners' camp about making the ballot. That was last week's concern."