NY Governor Ends Reelection Bid

BY Jason M. Breslow  February 26, 2010 at 11:33 AM EST

Update: 3:35pm EST

Less than a week after launching his reelection bid, New York’s embattled Democratic governor, David Paterson, has announced he is ending his bid for a second term.

The announcement comes as Paterson is under fire for intervening in a domestic-assault case against a top aide.

As the New York Times reported earlier this week:

Many details of the governor’s role in this episode are unclear, but the accounts presented in court and police records and interviews with the woman’s lawyer and others portray a brutal encounter, a frightened woman and an effort to make a potential political embarrassment go away.

In an afternoon press conference Friday, Paterson said he is “being realistic about politics.” With his arm raised, he added: “I have never abused my office. Not now, not ever.”

Even before questions arose over the abuse case, Paterson faced pressure from state lawmakers, as well as the White House, to not seek reelection.

“Paterson’s decision will be greeted with a sigh of relief from state and national Democrats who openly fretted that his unpopularity could drag down the entire ticket in the state,” according to the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

His exit from the race clears the way for New York’s popular attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, to seek the Democratic nomination for the governor’s chair. Cuomo’s office is currently investigating whether Paterson and the state police improperly contacted the woman involved in the assault case.

His likely Republican opponent will be former U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio.