Ex-governor Eliot Spitzer will reenter the political sphere and launch a campaign for city comptroller Monday, five years after resigning in disgrace.
Spitzer, who resigned as New York governor in 2008 following a prostitution scandal, told The New York Times he's hoping voters have forgiven him.
"I'm hopeful there will be forgiveness, I am asking for it," Spitzer told the Times Sunday night.
In a bizarre twist, Spitzer will be running against the ex-madam who supplied him with call girls.
"Happy birthday to me! What a great present - a chance to confront Eliot Spitzer in the debate!" tweeted Kristin Davis, who is already running as a Libertarian . "Davis for comptroller!!!"
He begins his campaign just two weeks after former Rep. Anthony Weiner came ahead in a poll for the mayoral race, despite his own scandal two years ago. But Spitzer denies Weiner's comeback had anything to do with his bid.
"I don't draw conclusions from anyone else's dynamic or situation," he told the New York Daily News. "The more people get into politics, the healthier it is. I hope the public gives me a fair shot."
He told the Times he's hoping to make the Office of Comptroller, currently held by mayoral candidate John Liu, a more activist one. As attorney general from 1999 to 2006, he aggressively fought corruption on Wall Street.
"The metaphor is what I did with the attorney general’s office," he said. "It is ripe for greater and more exciting use of the office's jurisdiction."
Perhaps hinting at his intentions, Spitzer told Gannett's Albany Bureau Chief in March he has an "intellectual fascination" with the position of state comptroller.
"Ownership trumps regulation as a way to change the way corporations behave," Spitzer said, adding "only wise judgment can lead you to the right choices, and wise judgment is a consequence of pressure from ownership. And ownership is controlled by shareholders. Shareholders are the comptrollers, those who control the pension funds, the mutual funds."
Spitzer said he's planning on financing the campaign out of his own pocket, but he still has to collect 3,750 signatures from registered Democrats by Thursday to be on the primary ballot in September. Volunteers will begin collecting signatures Monday, he said.
"I am going to be on the street corners," he said. "We will be out across the city."
Until Sptizer's announcement, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was considered the Democratic frontrunner for the position, an independently elected official who acts as the chief financial officer for the city.
"Scott has a proven record of results and integrity and entered race to help NY's middle class regain footing," Stringer's campaign manager Sascha Owen said in a tweeted statement responding to the news.
"By contrast, Spitzer will spurn campaign finance program to buy personal redemption with his family fortune," she continued. "The voters will decide."
Following news of Spitzer's run, Stringer has already received support from the mayoral campaigns of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former city comptroller Bill Thompson.
Spitzer made his announcement to the paper that ultimately contributed to his demise as governor. Days before Spitzer's resignation, the Times reported he solicited a high-end prostitution ring, Emperors Club VIP.
Since then, Spitzer has contributed to the online magazine Slate, been a co-host of a CNN show and hosted his own Current TV show, "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer."
"After being out of office for five years, thinking deeply, reflecting on what I was able to do when I was in government…I'm going to try and seek the controller’s office and ask to the public to consider me," Spitzer told the Daily News.
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