*Less than a week after declaring he would seek a full four-year term, embattled New York Gov. (D) David Paterson has decided not to run for election this fall amid low poll numbers, a lack of support from Democrats and controversy surrounding a domestic violence case involving one of his aides.
At a news conference in New York City, Paterson cited an accumulation of distractions, but said he had never abused his office.
“But I am being realistic about politics,” he said. “It hasn’t been the latest distraction … It’s been an accumulation of obstacles that have obfuscated me from bringing my message to the public.”
A New York Times article, published Thursday, raised questions about how Paterson and state police officials responded to a domestic abuse complaint lodged against a trusted aide from Harlem, David Johnson. More than a decade ago, Paterson took Johnson on as an intern as part of his efforts to help young people ensnared in Harlem’s crack epidemic.
Court papers said state police may have pressured the woman to not level criminal charges against Johnson. The newspaper also said Paterson spoke with the woman personally, although the governor’s office said it was the woman who placed the call.
Paterson insisted that he would not resign and said he would serve out his term “fighting for the state of New York.”
Paterson became governor in 2008, when former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in a prostitution scandal. His retirement clears the way for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the most popular politician in the Empire State, to be the Democratic nominee for governor this fall.
Cuomo ran for governor in 2002 but dropped out of the contest after it became clear he would lose to then state Comptroller Carl McCall. Former Rep. Rick Lazio is the likely Republican nominee.