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NY Gov. David Paterson Will Not Seek Reelection

The fallout has begun. Following a series of New York Times reports that linked his administration to a domestic abuse scandal, New York Gov. David Paterson is expected to announce today that he will not seek reelection in November. Paterson’s statement will come just about a week after heformally began his reelection campaign at Hofstra University. The latest Times story describes an incident last Halloween in which David Johnson, a Paterson aide, strangled an ex-girlfriend, threw her against a dresser, tore most of her clothes off, and twice prevented her from calling for help. According to the piece, Paterson responded to the woman’s ensuing lawsuit by first sending state police to her house -- a gesture she interpreted as intimidation -- then by calling her himself (Paterson has maintained that she initiated the call). Within the past 24 hours, Paterson’s office has limped its way through a political donnybrook, hemorrhaging officials and local support from Democrats. Yesterday, Denise O’Donnell, Paterson’s chief law-enforcement official, quit her job, citing the administration’s "unacceptable” behavior. Then Bill Perkins, a state senator from Harlem, told the Times, “This is a fatal blow, and it will probably only get worse. I just think that it’s clear that this is a storm he has to step away from.” Though no prominent Democrats have called for Paterson to resign, many have said his trifecta of new responsibilities (running a reelection campaign, governing New York and dealing with allegations of misconduct) is too much for one man to handle. Paterson’s fall will likely clear the road for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to run for governor this year. According to Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, Cuomo is New York’s “most popular politician.” Paterson likely won’t resign, which means for the next eight months he will remain in charge of a state buckling under billions in debt and facing monumental decisions about its environmental policy. It’s a pretty safe bet that any sort of “legislating” he had planned will now take a backseat to scandal management. More state government inefficiencies: Just what New Yorkers need. This incident may be bad for Paterson; but it could be even worse for the state as a whole.
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