Can Paterson Survive This?

Update: The New York Post reports Paterson won't seek election

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Update: The New York Post is now reporting that Paterson "has decided not to seek election" and will make an announcement later this morning.

The bombshell has finally dropped. After endless rumors and false alarms, The New York Times has published a damaging report about New York Governor David Paterson. The report suggests the state police--and possibly Paterson--covered up a brutal assault involving the ex-girlfriend of Paterson's aid, David W. Johnson. Paterson has now suspended Johnson and called for an investigation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo into "any allegation of improper influence." Things have never looked worse for Paterson's political career and Politico's Ben Smith says this "could be the end." However, True/Slant's Michael Roston sees a way Paterson could survive.

  • That Was the Final Straw, writes Ben Smith: "Paterson's political operation had already begun to fly apart, with money drying up and a top aide departing." He quotes New York political observers who say the Times story is the nail in the coffin. "There's going to be an increasingly loud drumbeat within the Democratic Party for David Paterson not to seek re-election."
  • Paterson's 'Dirty Politics' May Save Him, writes Michael Roston at True/Slant:
If Cuomo issues an adverse finding against Paterson, the Governor can argue that the investigation was politically motivated by a fellow Democrat who is hoping to unseat him. If Paterson gets a finding that is either neutral, or not negative, or if Cuomo declines to pursue the case, he will spin that to his political favor. Cuomo isn't damned if he does or damned if he doesn't. He's just damned by the consequences of a man who wasn't ready to be governor being elevated to the office in Albany after Eliot Spitzer's untimely fall from grace. What's worse, Cuomo will need to announce his own candidacy in the weeks ahead just as his office is digging into the particulars of this grody case... By trying to drag Cuomo into his personal mess, Paterson is confirming to us that he's not really good at being governor, he's just good at engaging in dirty politics.

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