Former New York Gov. Spitzer will discover whether he’s forgiven or not


One of Albany’s most savvy observers, my former Eric Mower + Associates partner Bob Bellafiore, put it well this morning, riffing off former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s planned return to politics. He follows similarly disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is running for mayor of New York City. Spitzer’s running for city comptroller. Said Bellafiore:

“I’d say the notion of having Weiner, Spitzer and Davis on the ballot pretty much solidifies what the rest of the country thinks about NYC.”

His third reference is to ex-madam Kristin Davis, best known for her role in supplying escorts for Spitzer. She announced in April that she will run as the Libertarian Party candidate for comptroller against Democrat Scott Stringer and subsequently received the party’s endorsement. Stringer must be wondering how he became an unwitting ring in this three-ring circus.

The issue before us today is not the absurdity of New York City or Albany politics, it’s how long does it take to rehabilitate a reputation like Spitzer’s?

He transgressed in 2008 and it cost him the governor’s job and probably prevented a run for the White House. Five years of quiet, some television commentary jobs with up and down ratings, and now he’s running for what has been a relatively minor post in city government.

Spitzer, of course, has a grand plan to make the job bigger [and more grandiose] as befits his world view of himself. He apparently wants to resurrect not only his political career, but his days as New York Attorney General when he was the bane of Wall Street.

This is a perfect test of a public figure’s crisis rebound quotient. The voters will decide. Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was elected to the House despite a strange affair; and Weiner is running for mayor of New York City years after sexting below the belt parts of himself to women he didn’t know. Other disgraced pols or pols to be — former Gen. David Petreus comes to mind — are surely watching and waiting. Will Hillary Clinton overcome Benghazi and her husband’s past and run for president in 2016?

Today’s world moves fast. Today’s scandals are replaced by tomorrow’s; the ones that happened a year or five ago are ancient history. New York City voters are as fickle as anywhere and Spitzer’s name recognition remains huge. He plans to fund his multi-million-dollar campaign himself, which won’t hurt.

If he wins, he could set up the unlikely relationship of Spitzer as watchdog of Weiner’s administration.

Only in the Big Apple.

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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