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N.Y. Democrats pick Spitzer for governor

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was designated as New York’s Democratic Party candidate for governor.  Spitzer  is the front-runner to succeed Republican Gov. George Pataki, who is leaving after three terms.
Eliot Spitzer
New York gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer enters the ballroom for his nomination acceptance speech during the New York State Democratic Convention in Buffalo, N.Y.Don Heupel / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

New York’s Democratic Party Tuesday designated Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as its candidate for governor, and the man who forced reforms of Wall Street and corporate America promised to reform state government’s ethics, taxes and spending.

“Something needs to change in this state, and it needs to happen right now,” Spitzer said at a party convention. “Ours is a crisis of leadership.”

Spitzer, 46, is the front-runner to succeed Republican Gov. George Pataki, who is leaving office after three terms.

The next governor will face a flagging upstate economy in places like Buffalo, which has little of its former industrial might, as well as anger over the highest taxes and the deepest debt in the country, an exodus of young adults, and Albany’s notorious political gridlock.

Fellow Democrat Tom Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, is running a petition drive to force a September primary contest with Spitzer. He refers to the Buffalo convention as Spitzer’s “coronation” by bosses of the state’s largest party.

Polls: N.Y. is headed in the wrong direction
Last week, a poll by the nonpartisan New York Matters found nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers agreed state government is doing only a fair or poor job on 18 of 20 issues residents consider most important, including taxes, education and jobs. Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff found the electorate unusually “grumpy.”

Polls have found more New Yorkers think the state is headed in the wrong direction. The highest priority for New Yorkers in most polls is not some new bold initiative, but simply lower taxes and reduced state debt.

On the Republican side, former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld are competing for their convention’s designation for governor.