Eliot Spitzer needed 3,750 signatures needed to get on the ballot-- and he turned in 27,000. The former governor, who only announced his candidacy for comptroller on Sunday, had until midnight Thursday to file the signatures. Before his place on the ballot is assured, the names will be validated by the city's Board of Elections. His opponent, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who had been frontrunner before Spitzer's entry into the race, submitted 100,000 signatures. Spitzer reportedly paid $800 a day to campaign workers who collected signatures on his behalf this week.
Spitzer, whose political career was all but over until he announced his surprise candidacy on Sunday, exceeded the threshold of 3,750 signatures required to get on the ballot. He had until midnight to file.
"I want to say thank you to the citizens of New York," said Spitzer standing in front of four boxes of petitions. "This is a demonstration of popular support."
His place on the September ballot in the Democratic primary election is not yet assured. The signatures must be validated by the city's Board of Elections and are subject to challenge from opponents. Signatures can be invalidated if a voter had already put his John Hancock on the petition of another comptroller candidate, is not a registerred Democrat in New York City or runs afoul of any number of other technicalities.
Because of New York's arcane rules, Spitzer needed roughly 15,000 signatures to feel secure that he could stave off challenges, according to a New York election lawyer.
New York City voters appear willing to give Spitzer a second chance.
Spitzer, who resigned five years ago amid a prostitution scandal, leads Scott Stringer in the race for New York City comptroller, according to a survey released Wednesday by NBC//Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll.
Spitzer has the support of 42% of registered Democrats compared with 33% for Stringer, the Manhattan Borough president.