Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.), who stepped down from office in 2008 after a prostitution scandal, is returning to political life with a bid for New York City comptroller.
“I’m hopeful there will be forgiveness. I am asking for it,” he said in an interview with The New York Times, announcing his plans.
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), whose term as South Carolina governor ended in 2009, recently won election to his old House seat. And former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who resigned from Congress after admitting to texting lewd photos of himself to women, is running for New York City mayor.
In an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Spitzer said Weiner’s recent rise in the polls had not influenced his own decision.
“No, I think, look. I think we all know, and we sense this when we speak to people, there is forgiveness in the public. Whether that forgiveness will extend to any individual is always a separate and independent question,” said the former governor.
“I will have to make a case very different than any other person has made. I expect I will make it every day between now and the election, and I look forward to making it,” he added.
Spitzer said he had made the decision over the “past weekend” and discussed it with his wife and daughters.
“I wouldn't do it if I didn't think my family would be supportive and was with it. Politics is a contact sport. So many areas of endeavor are. This one takes a unique toll on the family. I have imposed that toll,” said Spitzer on CBS. “I'm very conscious of that, and it's not easy.”
Spitzer has said he would pay for his own campaign.
To secure a spot on the September primary ballot, he must first collect 3,750 signatures from registered Democratic voters by Thursday.
The current New York City Comptroller John Liu (D) is running for mayor, creating an opening for the office. Reports said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
Spitzer previously served as New York attorney general and then governor, but resigned after admitting to consorting with prostitutes.
On CBS, Spitzer said he believed New York voters would look to his past accomplishments and was hopeful they would forgive his missteps.
"I'm going to say, look, I had a long career as a prosecutor, as attorney general, as governor. I sinned; I owned up to it; I looked them in the eye; I resigned; I held myself accountable. I think that was the only right thing to do. It's now five years later," said Spitzer.
"I hope they look back at what I did as attorney general, as governor, as a prosecutor and say, 'Hey this guy was ahead of the curve on Wall Street issues. He protected low-wage workers on the environment. He protected community gardens.' There's a record there that I hope they will look to and say, 'Yes, the comptroller's position is one that fits his skill set, and we hope that we can bring him back for public service.'"
This story was last updated at 8:55 a.m.