Eliot Spitzer is now the obvious frontrunner in the New York City comptroller race. But he still has to clear one significant hurdle by Thursday night in order to make his candidacy a reality.
A new NBC New York/Wall Street Journal poll found Spitzer up 9 points on challenger Scott Stringer. Most Democrats said they were willing to give him another chance, five years after he resigned as New York’s governor amid a prostitution scandal.
“Look, I’m never confident, because every day you have to ask the public for their support,” Spitzer told reporters Wednesday night after the poll results came in. “… I’m gratified, needless to say, that I’m ahead.”
Still, there is the matter of getting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Spitzer needs to get 3,750 signatures by 11:59 p.m. Thursday to make it on the ballot against his challenger, the Manhattan Borough President Stringer.
Spitzer held a “petition party” with supporters in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, in a late attempt to garner more signatures from registered Democrats. There were two people outside the restaurant canvassing for signatures, and to get into the private party one had to sign their name.
To reporters, Spitzer was coy about any specifics regarding the status of his petition count. He said only that he was confident about getting the required amount. When Business Insider asked him if he had a target number to get to above the 3,750 level, he said he did — but wouldn’t further delve into specifics on that, either.
“I don’t mean to be coy, but this is a process,” Spitzer said. “I’ve run businesses. And in businesses, you set trajectories, you set targets. We are hitting our targets. We’re doing fine.”
Spitzer said it was remarkable the work his campaign has done to compile signatures thus far. He said there had been “pressure” applied on people who said they were going to participate in helping to run his campaign, causing them to pull out.
One of the most high-profile was Neal Kwatra, a top New York City political adviser who originally reportedly signed on to the campaign rollout only to drop out a day later.
When asked if he thought some people were “bullied” out of helping him, Spitzer said, “I’m not going to characterise it. But I’m not going to edit your sentence, either.”
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