Pundits: Eliot Spitzer has a shot in comptroller race
Eliot Spitzer obviously has some hurdles to clear in his quest to become city comptroller, but New Yorkers and political pundits aren't counting him out.
The former governor, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, launched his bid yesterday in Union Square by greeting voters and collecting petition signatures to gain access to September's primary ballot.
Perhaps time has healed Spitzer's reputation to a degree, as some voters said they would consider supporting the disgraced pol.
"He's very bright," said Rosalie Hochman, 73, of Forest Hills. "But he's always been a nasty man. It depends who else is running."
Political consultant Joseph Mercurio said a Spitzer victory is possible, but he questioned the Democrat's hasty entry into the race. Spitzer has until Thursday to collect 3,750 signatures.
"It has the look that he sat around after watching the (Fourth of July) fireworks thinking, 'I could do this,' and then called a few people over the weekend and started pulling it together," Mercurio said.
Fred Siegel, a political analyst and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said Spitzer could win if Stringer does not aggressively attack what Siegel said was Spitzer's distorted record as attorney general and his gravitation to the far left while working in the media.
"It's hard to say how strong Scott Stringer is, and it's hard to say how much revulsion against Spitzer remains," Siegel said.
Mickey Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said he expects Spitzer to very much be in contention when the first polls are released.
"It would seem to me that a guy with his background, which is solid; with his intelligence, which is considerable; and his money, which he has an awful lot of, that he's got to be taken seriously," Carroll said.
Also running are Republican John Burnett, Green Party candidate Juila Willebrand and, ironically, Libertarian Party hopeful Kristen Davis, who served four months in prison for running the prostitution ring that Spitzer allegedly used.
Not everyone is receptive to a Spitzer comeback, however.
"I guess everyone deserves a second chance, but in politics you can't play that game," said Joe Esposito, 33, of Howard Beach.