For the past 24 hours, Paterson has battled a New York Times report that he and state police intervened in a domestic violence case involving a top staffer.
His exit clears the way for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who would be a strong favorite to replace Paterson.
Though he won't be seeking a full term, Paterson isn't expected to resign.
From the New York Post:
Gov. David Paterson has decided not to seek election to a full term amid a roiling scandal over whether he and his troopers intimidated a woman who'd reported domestic violence against one of his top aides, The Post has learned.
Paterson has communicated to top advisers and supporters that he will pull the plug on his campaign today, multiple sources said — confirming a Post report.
He's expected to make a statement at between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. today.
Paterson, who took over the state's top spot when Eliot Spitzer resigned because he had sex with a prostitute, is expected to say he won't resign.
Just last night Paterson said he intended to continue his campaign. But he also said he would talk to fellow Democrats about his future.
There were calls yesterday for Paterson to let someone else run on the party's ticket.