MANHATTAN (PIX11) – The biggest irony of Eliot Spitzer’s candidacy for comptroller is that he is now in competition with a woman who played a major role in his fall from grace.
Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis has been campaigning for comptroller for half a year, and there’s an even chance that she could now directly face her former client in a debate, years after she was sent to jail for operating the call girl service that Spitzer frequented, even though Spitzer never saw any criminal prosecution.
Federal investigators found that Spitzer, known as Client No. 9 at Davis’s escort service, had been with a variety of prostitutes, but was most frequently with Ashley Dupre, 28, one of the more popular young women for whom Davis arranged discreet encounters.
Davis, who’s running as a Libertarian, told PIX11 News that at her next encounter with Spitzer, which will be strictly political, she intends to grill him about what he stands for, noting the record and reputation he’s left thus far.
“What’s the difference this time about your candidacy?” she said she’ll ask him, as well as, “How do we know you’re not going to lie and defraud us again?”
The front runner in the comptroller’s race is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. The Democratic political operative had long been considered a shoo-in, who would run unopposed on the Democratic Party ballot in a city that votes overwhelmingly Democratic.
Now, though, Stringer faces a real race against Spitzer in the primary, assuming Spitzer qualifies for the ballot. Considering that, it was notable that Stringer did not make himself available for comment about the race until a previously scheduled meet-and-greet campaign appearance at the Upper West Side Fairway Market late in the afternoon.
When PIX11 News asked him about his lack of availability at a time when publicity is key, the Manhattan Borough President answered, “We are focused on my day job. We met with two deputy mayors [today],” and he also responded to a PIX11 News question about Spitzer’ deep pockets and even deeper list of potential supporters. “We’ve been out there since November laying the groundwork for this campaign,” Stringer said. “We have a tremendous amount of support.”
In a move intended to blatantly contrast with Spitzer, whose wife Silda, is rumored to have separated from him, Stringer campaigned on Monday with his wife at his side.
In all of this, though, the greatest irony remains that two of Stringer’s main opponents for comptroller are Spitzer and one of Spitzer’s most prominent nemeses — even though the list of enemies he made as U.S. attorney and governor is long.
With Kristin Davis in the race, it may now be impossible for him to avoid his prostitution past in any way during his campaign. Davis, however, says there are even more issues from which Spitzer, and Scott Stringer, can’t run.
“I spent ten years as a senior V.P… at a hedge fund worth $5 billion,” Davis said, contrasting her qualifications as the city’s financial and ethical watchdog with those of two of her opponents. “Scott Stringer can’t even write his own checks,” she said, “and Spitzer doesn’t have to write his own checks — he has that much money.”
John Burnett, who made his career on Wall Street, is also running for comptroller, on the Republican ticket.