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Eliot Spitzer runs for comptroller

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer running for city comptroller

Eliot Spitzer is running for NYC comptroller, more than five years since leaving office in prostitution scandal.

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The Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller is almost in a dead heat.

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is leading with 47% and former Governor Eliot Spitzer at 45%

Just last month, Spitzer was leading the polls and toward the end, the two were tied at 46%.

In Wednesday’s  survey, Spitzer no longer holds the throne of votes.

The poll also finds a big racial gap among voters, with Spitzer have overwhelming support among black voters and Stringer leading among whites.

“The Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller is no longer an Eliot Spitzer romp. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has made the comptroller race a nail-biter, too close to call,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute

Scott Stringer: Why voters should pick me over Eliot Spitzer

(PIX11) – Until five weeks ago, Scott Stringer was unopposed and the odds on favorite to become the city’s next controller—the third highest office in city government.

The shocker came on July 8 when disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer announced he was looking to make a political comeback and he too wants to be the city’s top money man.

It’s been a tough battle, with polls showing Spitzer leading Stringer by double digits, despite the prostitution scandal that drove him from office.

Spitzer was the guest on News Closeup last week.

This week, Marvin Scott welcomes Manhattan Borough president—the Democratic candidate for comptroller –  Scott Stringer.

Watch the first segment of News Closeup here, and tune in for the entire episode Sunday at 6:30 a.m. on PIX11. 

(PIX11) — Scott Stringer and Eliot Spitzer flung verbal jabs at one another inside of a television studio in Manhattan on Friday morning.  MSG might have been a better venue.

Two months ago, there would not have been a care in the world about the New York City Comptroller race.  Now there is a massive spotlight on the campaign, former national DNC operatives are in the mix and even Mike Tyson is doing the tale-of-the-tape for PIX 11 News.

(PIX11) – New York City Comptroller candidate and former madam Kristin Davis was arrested by FBI agents in Manhattan Monday, accused of selling prescription drugs.

Prosecutors say Davis sold hundreds of prescription pills, including Oxycodone, Xanax and Ambien among dozens of others, to a known drug dealer on numerous occasions.

The criminal complaint says Davis’ drug deals go back to 2009. She is due in court Tuesday afternoon.

Davis — who says she once supplied prostitutes to fellow comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer — announced her bid for office in July.

Spitzer, who resigned from his role as New York State Governor five years ago,  allegedly hired prostitutes from a call-girl service run by Davis.

The ex-madam is running as a libertarian.

“I spent 10 years as senior vice president of a $5 billion hedge fund. I’m running for comptroller, a financial position.  Scott Stringer’s a career politician with no financial experience, I don’t even know if he can balance his own check book. Spitzer probably doesn’t even write his own checks, he’s got that much money,” Davis told PIX11 in July.

UPPER EAST SIDE (PIX11) – In his own words, Eliot Spitzer admits he hurt a lot of people. We know that includes his wife Silda.

From day one of Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, Silda stood by her man but it’s been reported she has had enough and wants out of the relationship.

Divorce Attorney Vikki Ziegler tells us she is not surprised if Silda wants a divorce.  Ziegler said, “My only question is what took so long. In 2008 she stood by him and now that he is back out there, she can’t take the reminder of what he did wrong.”

When Spitzer appeared on our PIX 11 Morning News, he seemed confident that his wife would be by his side, Spitzer said, “She worked on several petitions for me, my private life is my private life.”

So far, Spitzer is leading in the polls against Scott Stringer for City Comptroller. Ziegler predicts, “This is going to be a bitter divorce. Spitzer is worth some $50 million. If she files divorce after the election there will be a lot at stake.”

MANHATTAN (PIX11) – Voters may be ready to give former governor Eliot Spitzer a second chance following the hooker scandal but the New York Post says his wife is planning to end their marriage.

The Post’s Page Six is reporting that Silda Spitzer says she has had enough and plans to start divorce proceedings as soon as the race for city comptroller is over. In a campaign ad Spitzer, talked about the scandal, saying “Look I failed big time. I hurt a lot of people.”

Perhaps he hurt no one more than his wife, who stood next to him when he resigned from office in disgrace in 2008 after patronizing high-priced call girls.  Now the Post is reporting Silda has told friends she is upset her husband re-entered politics and thrust their marriage and the scandal back into the spotlight, reportedly saying “That it is too hard,  that this is too rough.”

Recently, Spitzer was on the PIX11 Morning News, where we pressed him on whether Silda would be joining the campaign and if they are still a couple.

He said that  “she got a bunch of petitions for me”. When asked if they were still a couple he replied, “Yes.” but quickly added their lives were their private lives. Now the Post is reporting that Thursday night Spitzer admitted she won’t be campaigning.

The former governor is getting mixed news in the latest polls.  He is close to even in a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Democratic voters released Thursday, leading 49 to 45 percent over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer with a 4.4% margin of error.  An NBC4/ Wall Street Journal /Marist poll shows him leading Stringer by a much larger margin 48 to 36 percent.  That’s good news considering he has only been in the race for about two weeks.

(NEW YORK CITY )  - Eliot Spitzer new ad is bold, well produced and also shows the disgraced former Governor reflecting on his demise, “Look I failed.”

According to the campaign the ad was created in the last two weeks by well known political ad strategist Jimmy Siegal.  The ad covers two key points, Spitzer’s failure due to his prostitution scandal and what he achieved politically.  At one point, after mentioning how he has tackled Wall St. Spitzer says, “If you hear any negative noise out there and you will, keep in mind where it’s coming from.”

When PIX 11 News caught up with Spitzer’s primary opponent Scott String for reaction after an event in East Harlem,  the Manhattan Borough President said, “I don’t really pay a lot of attention to his ads.”

So we spoke to a couple of guys who do.

Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein described the ad as, “It’s an unconventional ad.  It doesn’t mention his name, it doesn’t address the scandal but we shouldn’t be surprised Eliot Spitzer has a habit of not playing by the same rules of everyone else.”

The ad also showcases 9 women to only 3 men.

“Not an accident,” said Gerstein, who added, “They are looking for validation in ways that are subtle not so obvious.”

Mike Paul, a Senior Aide to former Mayor Rudy Guiliani, has worked closely with ads in the past.  He feels that the ad is not authentic enough, but does well in showcasing the faces of what is everyday New York, “Notice that there is also a large presence of what we used to call minorities that are now in the majority.  Remember, NYC is almost three-quarters people of color, to be said even more bluntly, most people don’t look like Spitzer, they look more like me.”

John Barker is the CEO of Barker Advertising and Interactive. His firm has produced hundreds of televisions commercials with one exception, “We don’t do politics.”

Barker’s thought the ad was “smart” because it addressed the scandal at the beginning and then reminded voters what he did a Attorney General.

Spitzer spokesman Hari Sevugan would not address PIX 11 News inquiries as to whether or not the people showcased in the ad were New York City voters, if they were paid, and if they were all captured in the last two weeks.

It’s interesting to note that one couple in the ad was bundled up as if it was cold February day.  In fact there is even snow on the ground.

Needless to say it hasn’t snowed in New York City over the last two weeks.


(NEW YORK CITY) – “You just can’t play by your own rules.”

That is how Scott Stringer, Eliot Spitzer’s primary adversary in the race for New York City comptroller, described the disgraced former Governor’s refusal to release his taxes for the last five years.  Well, maybe it worked because Spitzer finally released his last two years’ tax returns Wednesday afternoon, along with a required financial disclosure form.

Dan Gerstein is a political operative based in Midtown who describes Spitzer’s lack of transparency by saying, “There is some information they don’t want public. How damaging that is? We don’t know. But the way the fact that they’re hiding it always raises that suspicion  among voters.”

The records reveal that Spitzer’s disgrace has niftily been turned into financial success — he and his wife made more than $8 million last hear thanks to a lucrative contract with CNN and multiple real estate deals.  However, the forms disclose only his federal 1040 forms and leaves out figures outlining is income from interest, deductions, etc.


The spotlight now focuses on Spitzer’s business affairs and not the affairs that forced him out of the Governor’s mansion. Gerstein, who served as a senior aide to Senator Joe Lieberman and who also had client run against Spitzer in 2006, says that when it comes to the office of the Comptroller and the management of $140 billion in pension funds a politician cannot have any shady questions pop up in their tax history, “Financial wrongdoing is much more damaging than personal or sexual wrongdoing.”

Since Spitzer launched his campaign there has been chatter about the infamous pillow talk with hookers, the 54-year-old’s hypocrisy for writing about voting for Obama then not voting, and for dodging questions about his marriage on PIX 11 News.  Spitzer, the former broadcast anchor, pontificated last year on the tax issues that crippled Mitt Romney’s campaign, criticizing the former governor for not releasing his records.

The Stringer campaign, who is trailing by double-digits in the polls, released a rapid-response attack video Thursday morning in which they interrogate Spitzer with his own words.

For Stringer, who has released his entire five-year tax history, it’s a strategy of portraying Spitzer as a hypocrite who only worries about himself, “I want to be the controller that watches out for the backs of working people and if you can’t release your taxes, and you can’t vote for Barack Obama and you can’t get your conflict of interest form in on time, then what are we talking about here.”

An email to Lisa Linden, Spitzer’s spokeswoman, went unanswered.

He resigned amid scandal five years ago, and while New Yorkers love a good comeback, are we willing to forgive and forget Eliot Spitzer?

The former New Yorker governor and candidate for city comptroller hopes so.

Spitzer offered PIX11 a wide-ranging interview, in which he discussed how long he had been planning the move, why he chose comptroller, not mayor, what he can bring to the office, and how he’s changed since leaving office in a prostitution scandal five years ago.

During the time period between the scandal and media frenzy after his comptroller bid announcement, Spitzer says that he has “matured” as a person.

Though many consider the city comptroller position to be beneath him, he disagrees, saying he can make a difference in the job, giving his past office experience and his investigations into Wall Street wrongdoing.

While he supports public financing, Spitzer said he funded the campaign himself. He says independence from  interest funding will better allow him to do his job.

When asked about Silda Wall Spitzer, his wife, he acknowledged  her help during the petitioning process last week, but deflected further questions about reports they are living apart. Spitzer said he wants  “to keep my private life private.”

Watch the videos for the complete story.