Opinion: N.Y. Gov. David Paterson won’t run, to the White House’s relief

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The White House pushed, hinted, suggested, cajoled and otherwise tried to send the message to embattled New York Gov. David Paterson that he should get out of the race.

Now, he has, with various news sources reporting he is going to serve out his term, which ends in January, but won’t seek a new term.


(UPDATE: Democrat Paterson confirmed the reports Friday. He’s out.)

Paterson has been under fire in recent days for having contacted a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence.

But that is hardly his first brush with controversy. Paterson inherited the governor’s office after fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer resigned in a prostitution scandal. With Paterson’s poll numbers down and amid grumbling about his ineffectiveness, the White House sent word to Albany in September that perhaps Paterson could fall on his sword for the party.

As The Ticket reported at the time, New York’s First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson blasted President Obama for the backroom push, saying it was wrong for the White House to get involved. ‘David’s the first African American governor in the state of New York and he’s being asked to get out of the race. It’s very unusual and it seems very unfair,’ she told the New York Post. ‘I never heard of a president asking a governor not to run.... I don’t think it’s right.’

But the current scandal -- in which Paterson reportedly called a woman who was about to testify against one of his top aides -- was the tipping point.

The biggest winner from today’s decision? Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo, the darling of the Democratic left and the son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who can now go for it without a bruising or expensive Democratic primary.

-- Johanna Neuman

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