Paterson Defiant, Will Run For Election Despite Unusual Intervention Of The White House

Gov. David Paterson
Gov. David Paterson

This will be awkward.

President Obama will be in Troy today for a speech at Hudson Valley Community College.  Gov. David Paterson will be there, too, just one day after the New York Times reported that Obama’s political advisor took the unusual step of meeting with Paterson to ask him not to run for election next year.

Neither Paterson nor the White House denied the story.

It’s rare for the White House to involve itself in state or local politics — rare, but not unheard-of.  The White House was involved, for example, in the switch of parties of Pensylvania Sen. Arlen Specter earlier this year.  What’s rare is for the word to get out about the White House’s involvement.

Paterson faces long odds of winning a full term in the Governor’s Mansion.  He had broad support shortly after being appointed to the post when Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace.  But a series of unpopular moves, particularly on the state budget, has left his approval rating in the mid-20 percent range — almost always fatal for a candidate.

Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo enjoys the broad support Paterson used to have and is preparing a run for Governor, which would mean beating Paterson in a primary should Paterson choose to run.

At a parade in Queens on Sunday, Paterson told the Times he’s not going anywhere:

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.”

“I have had a number of different conversations with a number of different people,” he added. “They are confidential.”

The first Republican to enter the Governor’s race will do so Tuesday.  Rick Lazio, last seen being pummeled by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race to replace Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the US Senate, holds a news conference tomorrow to start his campaign.

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