Spitzer Implosion Clears Way for Governor Bloomberg

Bloomberg
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Bloomberg ’08 proved to be a false start. But with the self-immolation of Eliot Spitzer, Bloomberg ’10 makes almost too much sense.

Our term-limited mayor will, of course, be looking for a job come January 2009. He laid some serious groundwork for a presidential bid, enough that by the beginning of this year, his supporters were saying he could launch a campaign “at the drop of a hat.” It wasn’t just annoying ballot-access issues that ultimately turned him off, or the prospect of an Obama-McCain race leaving little room for a reform Republican. Bloomberg doesn’t like to enter a contest unless he can be pretty to sure win.

That likely won’t be a problem if Bloomberg aims for the governorship. The state GOP owes him big-time for putting money and personal appearances into protecting its slim State Senate majority. And the Republicans ain’t exactly picking from a roster of all-star alternatives when it comes to fielding statewide candidates. The gubernatorial nomination would be Bloomberg’s for the asking.

Meanwhile, before this week Bloomberg had already opened a nearly twenty-point lead over Spitzer in recent general election polls. And while David Paterson is as likable as Spitzer is arrogant, the replacement governor is going to have two strikes against him heading into 2010. He’s almost certainly going to face a primary challenge from Andrew Cuomo. And Paterson has no fortune of his own, as Spitzer would have, to throw against Bloomberg’s billions.

Squeaky-clean Mike to replace Client 9; not-a-Wasp, built-his-business-from-scratch Bloomberg to face a man who happens to be black and blind; the guy who kept New York City humming without being an asshole like Rudy now heading to Albany to clean up after the “fucking steamroller.” Yes, skipping the Iowa State Fair suddenly makes a whole lot more sense. —Peter Keating