(Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer)
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer kicked his political comeback campaign into full gear Thursday night when he delivered 27,000 signatures to qualify for a place on the Democratic primary ballot for New York City comptroller.
Spitzer, a Democrat who resigned from the governorship five years ago over a prostitution scandal, only announced on Sunday evening that he would join the race for city comptroller.
Major party candidates for mayor, comptroller and public advocate are required to present 3,750 signatures from registered voters in their parties in order to make the ballot, according to a New York Times report.
Spitzer who is pitching himself as somewhat of an underdog in the comptroller race, took a veiled shot at his opponent, Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, by suggesting that anyone who would legally challenge his petitions would "be sending a statement they don't believe in democracy," according to the Times.
"We don't believe that bosses dictate who gets on the ballot," said Spitzer.
Spitzer, whom the Times describes as "an independently wealthy candidate," opted to finance his own campaign. A spokesperson for Stringer argued that the former governor wanted to "use his personal fortune to try and buy this election wholesale."
On Thursday, a NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed that even before Spitzer made the ballot, 42 percent of registered Democrats said they support him compared to 33 percent saying they support his rival, Stringer.
In the poll, which was conducted Monday and Tuesday, an overwhelming 67 percent of Democrats said Spitzer deserved a second chance, and 44 percent saw him as a changed man.
Nearly two-thirds said his scandal mattered little to the race, or not at all, according to the NBC report.
Spitzer's favorability rating was also seen as "healthy" with 46 percent of Democrats saying they had a positive opinion of him. Only 40 percent said the same for Stringer.
Some 536 registered Democrats participated in the poll that has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.