NEW YORK—Eliot Spitzer says he gathered more than 27,000 signatures to make it on the ballot in the race for New York City comptroller—describing it as an “outpouring show of support” for his bid to return to politics.
The signatures, which still have to be verified by the city Board of Elections, are more than seven times the 3,750 Spitzer needed to qualify for the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.
Spitzer presented four boxes of petitions to the Board of Elections office shortly after 10:30 p.m.—about 90 minutes before the signatures were formally due but just in time for the local 11 p.m. newscasts. As he arrived, Spitzer was swarmed by reporters and a crowd of onlookers—some of whom cheered the ex-lawmaker.
“I want to thank the citizens of New York who have signed these petitions. … It is an important statement to those who said it was not possible in the course of three and a half days to gather enough signatures to get a candidate on the ballot for citywide office,” Spitzer declared.
Spitzer made the surprise announcement Sunday that he would run against Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, a Democrat who had been running unopposed in the race. He began formally soliciting signatures to make it on the ballot on Monday and told reporters that his support had grown “every day” since. His bid comes five years after he resigned from office after admitting he cheated on this wife with prostitutes.
The former governor expressed confidence that the majority of his signatures would past muster—though traditionally in citywide elections about half of the signatures gathered are often disqualified as invalid.
“We have done this in the most meticulous way. We have checked to make sure this was done properly,” Spitzer said, pointing out that he was a lawyer and had petitioned for ballots before.
The Stringer campaign, which filed more than 100,000 signatures earlier this week, did not say whether it would challenge Spitzer’s signatures. But the former governor was quick to criticize any possible challenge.
“Anybody who would challenge 27,000 signatures would be sending a statement that they don’t believe in democracy. They don’t believe in primaries. They don’t believe in the fundamental nature of competition,” Spitzer declared.