9.20.2009

Obama Asks Paterson To Drop Out Of New York Gov Race (UDPATED)

President Obama asking Gov. David Patterson not to run for reelection is really good news -- and, not just for holding the Governorship, but for all the races his presence in the campaign would have dragged down with him.

After Charlie Rangel threatened Andrew Cuomo that if he jumped into the race to challenge Gov. David Patterson he'd considered it a racial issue, I was hoping that something like this would happen. Rangel threatening Cuomo was despicable.

Patterson has been a monumental disappointment. I know he didn't ask for any of this -- that he's an accidental mayor -- so, I'm truly sympathetic. But, and this is a huge but, he's as inept as anyone could have possibly been.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — President Obama has sent a request to Gov. David A. Paterson that he withdraw from the New York governor’s race, fearing that Mr. Paterson cannot recover from his dismal political standing, according to two senior administration officials and a New York Democratic operative with direct knowledge of the situation.

The decision to ask Mr. Paterson to step aside was proposed by political advisers to Mr. Obama, but approved by the president himself, one of the administration officials said.

“Is there concern about the situation in New York? Absolutely,” the second administration official said Saturday evening. “Has that concern been conveyed to the governor? Yes.”

[...]

The president’s request was conveyed to the Mr. Paterson by Representative Gregory W. Meeks, a Queens Democrat, who has developed a strong relationship with the Obama administration, they said.

And, he can't win reelection.

Even if runs against Rudy Giuliani -- despite Democrats rallying behind him -- he'd lose big time. Democrats wouldn't be enough. It would be rally against Rudy and only by the base. He shouldn't have to be asked to withdraw from the race.

Andrew Cuomo will crush Giuliani and give moderate Dems and Independents a reason to vote for a Democrat. Patterson doesn't do that.
“The message the White House wanted to send — that it wants Paterson to step aside — was delivered,” said the Democratic operative,, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to be confidential. “He is resistant.”

The general election is more than a year away, but Mr. Obama and his political team are moving now in part because of signals from Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, that he may run for governor, according to Democrats who have spoken with White House officials. Many Democratic leaders believe that Mr. Giuliani’s presence at the top of the Republican ticket could spark enthusiasm among his party’s voters, who might otherwise have little desire to go to the polls.

Leading Democrats in the state have expressed deep concern about Mr. Paterson’s ability to hold on to the office. But most have been wary of openly suggesting he step aside.

The White House move could give them cover to abandon Mr. Paterson and endorse another candidate, most likely Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who has been debating for months whether to take on Mr. Paterson in a primary.

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UPDATE I: Gov. Patterson remains defiant:
Paterson Planning 2010 Run, Ignoring Obama

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. David Paterson isn't scrapping his plans to run for the office he inherited 18 months ago, despite growing pressure from Washington and intervention by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has contacted the governor and the White House over his concern.

"My plans for 2010 are to run for governor of the state of New York," Paterson said Sunday after serving as grand marshal to the African-American Day Parade in Manhattan. "I am running for office."

Paterson's remarks come amid mounting pressure from Washington and within New York to drop out because of his low poll numbers and concerns from other Democrats that he might hurt their chances in 2010.

"I think the White House is very concerned about 2010," said Lee Miringoff of the Marist College poll, which last week found Paterson mired in some of the lowest approval ratings of any New York governor.

"They are worried that Paterson's pick for the U.S. Senate, (Kirsten) Gillibrand, might be vulnerable," Miringoff said. "They are also worried they might lose that seat and they want the head of the ticket to be stronger than Paterson's numbers are."

Asked if he was concerned about losing some Democratic support because of his low poll numbers, Paterson said: "No, I feel like in this very difficult economic time, just about all the governors are facing the same types of problems."

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