In Comptroller's Race, Money Can't Buy (Enough) Votes

Spitzer Outspends but is Undone by Stringer

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Despite outspending his Democratic rival about 5 to 1, disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer came up short in his bid to become New York City's next Comptroller.

Unofficial returns showed Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer leading Spitzer 52-to-48%.

Spitzer entered the race just days before the deadline.  According to the Campaign Finance Board, he spent $10,805,842.54, much of it his own money. In contrast, Stringer spent just $1,994,508.89, raised from thousands of different sources.

Spitzer, a former Attorney General who became known as a fearless watchdog of the public's resources, initially led in most polls.  He enjoyed strong support from the city's African American community that continued through the campaign.

"He could have been in any other place, but he's here, tonight, he's here in Harlem," said supporter Walter Edwards, of Spitzer's decision to watch election results at the Mist entertainment complex in Harlem.

Many voters couldn't get past Spitzer's fall from grace.  About a year into his tenure as Governor of New York, he resigned in disgrace after sordid details surfaced about his visits to upscale prostitutes. Yet supporters shrugged off Spitzer's past, pointing to his independent streak and strong record as Attorney General. 

"Who around you is totally innocent, I don’t know anyone….and if it’s your personal life, what do I have to do with it," asked Edwards, when asked about Spitzer's checkered past.

With about 92% of the vote in, Spitzer thanked his supporters Tuesday night.

"I am proud to have run a campaign over the past 9 weeks, that many thought was incapable to mount from the very beginning when we had to gather petitions.  But we did it in a way to make me proud of the issues we fought for when I was Attorney General and Governor," said Spitzer.

After speaking alone in front of the microphones for about 2 minutes, Spitzer left the room to applause.  His supporters soon followed.

Scott Stringer will face a Republican and other challengers in the general election, but Democrats have held the comptroller's office for decades, and most agree he will sail into office in November.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [3]

janet babin

Alex and Math Addict: you are correct! thanks so much for pointing that out. Article now changed to reflect correct figures!

Sep. 11 2013 03:58 PM

Yes: Math?

Sep. 11 2013 02:22 PM
Math Addict

I'm confused by this math. You said Spitzer outspent "his Democratic rival about 10 to 1." But then, "According to the Campaign Finance Board, he spent $10,805,842.54, much of it his own money. In contrast, Stringer spent just $1,994,508.89."

10.81:1.99 is about 5.43:1. Or closest to 5 to 1. Not 10 to 1. Or was there other detail that didn't make it into the article?

Sep. 11 2013 09:40 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by