client 9

Eliot Spitzer Dipping a Toe Back in Politics

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer speaks at a forum on the future of New York September 16, 2010 at the New York Public Library in New York City. The forum, which was sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, also included New York former Governor George Pataki and current governor David Paterson. Mainstream politicians in New York have been caught off guard by the controversial primary win of upstate millionaire and Tea Party endorsed Carl Paladino as the Republican party`s pick for governor. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Eliot Spitzer is hosting a political fund-raiser for the first time since a prostitution scandal forced his resignation as governor of New York, the Post reports, but it’s not for himself or even another local. On March 5, Spitzer is throwing a party at his Fifth Avenue home for the gubernatorial campaign of Washington Democrat Jay Inslee, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. For Spitzer, it’s a slow start, to be sure, but the tabloid has no problem throwing around words like “political mover and shaker” and “national kingmaker,” and hinting at a larger resurgence to come. “The second-oldest profession in the world is political fund raising,” one source quips, stretching the saying some.

Spitzer is hosting with the help of fund-raiser Cynthia R. Darrison, who worked with the former governor on his own campaign.* Inslee is pro-choice, supports gay marriage, and favors environmental issues, in line with Spitzer’s own positions. “Eliot thinks he is a winner,” says the invitation for the dinner, where tickets run from $1,000 to $3,600.

The peanut gallery is more than happy to speculate about the implications for Spitzer’s future. “Eliot is smart to get back to fund-raising with an out-of-state race, to not automatically generate any new local enemies,” one anonymous source said. “This is a shrewd way for him to get back in the game.” The “Client 9” disgrace that brought him down occurred in 2008, and is already starting to feel like a distant memory in a political climate not short on embarrassing falls from grace, and with his failed CNN show (and Slate column!) as a buffer. New York alone has had the Craigslist congressman Chris Lee and, of course, Anthony Weiner since then, which far outweigh on-air awkwardness with Kathleen Parker.

Still, the local media has been eager for years to brand any Spitzer movement a comeback, while the ex-governor’s actions have been minor and vague at best. A few months ago, 57 percent of New Yorkers didn’t want Spitzer to run for mayor in 2013, but forgiveness is a funny thing and the man does not seem to be pushing it. 

*This post has been updated to reflect that Darrison is not working for the Inslee campaign, as the New York Post erroneously reported.

Eliot Spitzer Dipping a Toe Back in Politics