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Scott Stringer’s Endorsement Trifecta

August 19, 2013

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was once the blow-’em-away favorite to be the next New York City Comptroller. That ended on July 7, when former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer declared his self-funded candidacy for the office.

From the very first poll, taken by Marist on July 8 and 9, Spitzer took the lead. By last week, Spitzer’s lead over Stringer had grown to 19 points. Spitzer was a terrible governor, and he resigned in disgrace for patronizing a prostitute, but he was fit in the eyes of most New York Democrats to be the city’s chief fiscal watchdog.

But something happened over the weekend that might change that. On Friday, the Times endorsed Stringer over Spitzer. The Daily News and the Post followed on Saturday.

Politically, New York’s dailies don’t agree on very much, but they found themselves in enthusiastic unanimity on this one. The Times suggested that an ideal comptroller “is politically astute and ethically impeccable, and works well with others,” and that “Stringer has shown all those qualities.” Referring to Spitzer’s disastrous governorship, which followed a highly successful tenure as New York’s attorney general, the Times jabbed that “Stringer has been effective in every political job he’s had.”

The Daily News trashed Spitzer for seven paragraphs before even getting to Stringer: “a steady, serious, well-prepared public official with an unblemished record of accomplishment.” In particular, noted DN, Stringer’s borough president position put him on the boards of directors of the city’s pension systems, which are overseen by the comptroller.

The Post similarly had much more to say about why Spitzer should not be nominated than why Stringer should. Noting Stringer’s endorsements from the left, singling out Gloria Steinem, the Post made clear that it would not ordinarily endorse Stringer due to his politics. But the Post found Stringer to be “sober and honest,” and focused on the job of comptroller.

With just three weeks to primary day, it will be interesting to watch the effect of a united front among our normally fractious daily newspaper editorial boards.

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