NY-Governor: Obama Pushing Paterson Aside?

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is getting involved in the New York governor's race: Gov. David A. Paterson insisted on ...
by | September 21, 2009

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is getting involved in the New York governor's race:

Gov. David A. Paterson insisted on Sunday that he would continue his campaign for governor, despite urgings from the White House that he step aside for the good of the Democratic Party.

At a parade in Harlem, the governor refused to discuss his conversations with President Obama's political team, which has made clear to Mr. Paterson in recent days that it has lost confidence in him and does not believe he can be elected next fall.

Asked how he would run as a Democrat without White House support, Mr. Paterson said, "I am running for governor right now. I have no idea -- I am a candidate for governor."

Besides reflecting Paterson's abysmal approval ratings, this move reflects where we are in the political calendar. In a different year, the White House might not feel that a governor's race is worth so much attention.

But, with redistricting upcoming, Democrats in Washington would benefit quite a bit from having a member of their party in the New York governor's office. Of the 29 U.S. House members from New York, 26 are Democrats. A friendly map would help protect those congressmen.

The White House was quite successful at clearing the field in New York for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. I suspect they'll ultimately have the same success in the governor's race (with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as the candidate).

That's not because the Obama administration is omnipotent, though they can influence Democratic fundraisers. Rather, Paterson's poll numbers are so poor that even without outside pressure the sensible decision will probably be to step aside.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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