New York scandal threatens Gov. David Paterson's election bid
New York Gov. David Paterson, already facing low poll numbers, now is dealing with reports that state police may have interfered with a domestic-violence investigation involving an aide. The state cabinet official who oversees the state police resigned Thursday.
The political problems of New York Gov. David Paterson are intensifying.Skip to next paragraph
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Governor Paterson, already facing extremely low poll numbers, now is contending with reports that an aide may have been involved in a domestic violence incident and that the state police interfered with the investigation.
The new reports have increased calls for Paterson to either drop out of the race – which he officially entered Feb. 12 – or resign. So far, he’s still in the race and running the state.
On Thursday, one of his cabinet officials, who supervised the state police, resigned after reports state police officers contacted the woman who made the complaint.
“The behavior alleged here is the antithesis of what many of us have spent our entire careers working to build, a legal system that protects victims of domestic violence and brings offenders to justice,” Denise O’Donnell, deputy secretary for public safety, wrote in her resignation letter. Ms. O'Donnell said that she was misled about events by the superintendent of state police.
Fallout from the scandal doesn’t seem likely to end with her resignation.
“There was a part of me not too long ago saying, 'Don’t count him out,' ” says John Zogby, founder of Zogby International, a political polling firm in Utica, N.Y. “But now, it’s hard to see how he gets out of his position gracefully.”
“Big state governors are in trouble everywhere,” says Mr. Sabato, pointing to Florida’s Charlie Crist, California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm, and Illinois’s Pat Quinn. “With the economy the way it is, it’s a terrible time to be the governor of a big state.”
The dismal economy has certainly hurt Paterson, who inherited the governor’s position after Eliot Spitzer resigned three years ago after he became embroiled in a call-girl scandal.
The state is running a large budget deficit, forcing Paterson to ask for spending cuts in an election year.