Spitzer will run for New York City comptroller

Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who resigned amid a prostitution scandal five years ago, will seek a return to public office in the New York City comptroller's race this year.

The Democrat will begin collecting signatures for the campaign this week, spokeswoman Lisa Linden said. The deadline is Thursday.

"He's throwing his hat in the ring," Linden said.

Spitzer confirmed his plans in an interview with the New York Times, which first reported that he would run.

Spitzer becomes the second scandal-tarred New York politico to seek office in the Big Apple this year. Former congressman Anthony Weiner (D), who resigned after his own scandal, is running for mayor and has made progress early in his campaign. And earlier this year, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) won a congressional seat four years after an affair derailed his political career.

The current comptroller, John Liu (D), is also running for mayor, creating an opening for that office. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, but Spitzer's entry could quickly change that.

Spitzer, 54, previously served as attorney general of New York state, before becoming a popular governor. He resigned shortly after his scandal went public and has since worked as a television commentator on CNN, Current TV and NY1.

Polling suggests Spitzer has plenty of work to do to regain his good name. A Marist College poll in October 2012 gauged interest in Spitzer running for mayor. It showed 57 percent of New York City residents preferred that he sit out the race, while 30 percent urged him to run. Even 56 percent of Democrats said he shouldn't run.

In March 2008, it was reported that Spitzer used a high-end prostitution service called the Emperors Club VIP. Spitzer was initially identified as an anonymous client caught on a federal wiretap arranging a rendezvous with a woman in Washington, D.C.

Spitzer did not face criminal charges after federal authorities determined he didn't use public or campaign money to pay the women.

In order to qualify for the primary ballot, Spitzer will need to gather 3,750 valid signatures by the Thursday deadline. The primary will be held in September.

There was little indication before Sunday that Spitzer would seek a return to office this year. It was reported in 2009 that he was weighing a run for comptroller of New York state in the 2010 elections, but he opted not to run.

Updated at 10:24 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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