Thus far in his short-lived campaign, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has avoided criticizing his once-unopposed opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, in his bid to become the city’s next comptroller.
That changed this morning, when Mr. Spitzer implied that Mr. Stringer is beholden to “special interests.”
“Here’s the thing, my opponent has been spending three years going out, raising money to then participate in the system,” Mr. Spitzer said during a WPIX 11 interview. “I have three weeks, eight week until the primary–basically just a couple of weeks to get things together to run the campaign. I don’t have time to raise money. He has taken a lot of money from special interests and that’s fine, that’s how campaign finance works.”
It was one of Mr. Spitzer’s first digs at Mr. Stringer, who has the overwhelming support of the city’s Democratic establishment. While Mr. Stringer has come out swinging against Mr. Spitzer for using his family’s real estate fortune to fund his surprising candidacy instead of using the city’s generous public matching funds system, Mr. Spitzer had been largely ignoring Mr. Stringer, repeatedly referring to him as a “friend” instead.
However, with a one-on-one Democratic primary very likely, the chance of a cordial race is unlikely, political observers say. Indeed, Mr. Stringer has scheduled a press conference this afternoon to again call on Mr. Spitzer to abide by spending limits for publicly-funded candidates.
The Stringer campaign, returning fire this morning, yet again implied that Mr. Spitzer was hypocritical for supporting publicly-financed elections while drawing on his own wealth to run for office.
“If you’re only committed to principle when it’s convenient to you that’s no commitment at all,” said a Stringer spokeswoman. “New Yorkers deserve a comptroller with the integrity to stick to what he believes in even when it gets hard. That’s why so many middle class and working families are supporting Scott.”