New York Gov. David Paterson (D) will officially launch his reelection campaign this weekend, in a move that defies even the president's suggestion that he step aside and allow another Democrat to run for his post.
The governor will begin his run for office rather aggressively, with four events that will take him from Rochester on Saturday to Manhattan by Sunday afternoon, according to the schedule released by Paterson's office late Tuesday.
But Paterson's decision to enter the race is sure to arrive to the dismay of many within his own party. A handful of Democrats — including President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEbay founder funding Facebook whistleblower: report Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination McAuliffe rolls out ad featuring Obama ahead of campaign stop MORE — have reportedly implored the governor to cede the party's nomination to more popular candidates, including New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Others fear the storms of scandal are brewing all about Paterson, who took over following the resignation of a scandal-hampered Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) in 2008.
But mostly, skeptics of the governor's reelection bid point to his longstanding spell of low approval ratings as evidence he could jeopardize the party's ability to retain the governor's mansion next year.
A Marist poll released earlier this month pegged the governor's support at about 26 percent — a point of concern for any incumbent.
Worse yet, about 60 percent told pollsters they did not want Paterson to run for a full term this year, while about 76 percent said they hoped Cuomo ran in his place.
But Paterson has routinely dismissed most of that preliminary data — to say nothing of the many Democrats who have subsequently cited it as reason for him to relinquish his job.
Even after President Barack Obama reportedly dispatched White House staffers to urge Paterson to withdraw his reelection bid, the governor maintained he would still seek a full term in 2010.
“I have said time and time again that I am running for governor next year,” he told The New York Times in September 2009, after news of the White House's involvement in the race broke.
Some New York Democrats signaled last week the governor had changed his mind about reelection, in light of a forthcoming Times story that many believed could have implicated Paterson in some kind of career-killing political scandal. Rumors that the governor was even mulling resignation soon began to flow out of Albany.
But as that speculation subsided — after it became clear the Times piece was mostly about the governor's driver — the Paterson camp repeated the governor had no intention of suspending his reelection campaign.
Paterson himself later blamed the fallout on his political enemies, whom he suggested in an interview were "after" him. And the governor's communication shop has since railed on both the Times and the governor's detractors for stoking such unprecedented speculation.
"This is a new low even by the standards of Planet Albany," Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann said earlier this month. "The circus of the past week [was] entirely fabricated out of thin air, and innuendo is an embarrassment for all who have played a role in fueling it."