You thought you could kick back at the pool and coast through the dog days of summer. Well, Eliot Spitzer just cannonballed into that pool and now you’re sopping wet and clutching an iPad that’s on the fritz. Don’t worry. We’re here to give you a towel, dry you off and explain what just happened. And what better way to start than with your dog days’ winners and losers:
Ed Cox - While the Democrats play hardball with each other, they just keep serving up one softball after another for the GOP state chairman to pound out of the park. For nearly the last year, Cox has had Gropezgate and the Silver cover-up to tee off on. Now he has the Weiner Spitzer show, as compelling an argument for many voters for the Republicans to continue their 20-year reign over the New York City mayoralty as any.
Joe Lhota - The former MTA head looked like the only grown-up in the room during the first televised Republican mayoral debate, letting his rivals John Catsimatidis and George McDonald duke it out while he stayed above the fray. Lhota still needs to distinguish himself as a candidate, with polls showing that more than half of the city’s GOP voters don’t yet have an opinion of him, but for now he should be content to stay the course and let his opponents do the mudslinging.
Bill Nojay - He’s only a freshman assemblyman, but the mouth of Rochester has his eyes set on remaking the state’s Republican Party–through song. Nojay and the State Rifle and Pistol Association are organizing a country music concert next month designed to register upstate conservatives to vote in advance of the 2014 election. Nojay has become a strong addition to the Assembly minority this past session, and his foresight could help them pick up seats in both chambers. Plus, if he books LeAnn Rimes we might actually show up.
Political Journalists - ”And He rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven” (Psalm 78:24). Yes, it has been that dramatic a week for the state’s political journalists, who found themselves covering not one, but two sex-scandal redemption tours this cycle. Few thought the former governor would make his return to politics, but Eliot Spitzer surprised practically everybody by jumping into the race. And you know what that means. A media circus larger than the Ringling Brothers’ elephant walk. Oh, and journalists did eat the bread of angels, food sent from Heaven… er… the Upper East Side.
Eliot Spitzer - He’s baaaaaaaaaack! Just when Scott Stringer thought that it was safe to measure the drapes in the comptroller’s office, the Luv Guv threw the New York City political world into chaos for the second time in two months by relaunching his political career. Before the surprising resurgence of Anthony Weiner, the thought of Spitzer making a comeback bordered on the comical. But if the poll taken this week accurately reflects where the electorate stands, Spitzer could very well be who has the last laugh. That is, if he gets on the ballot.
Bill de Blasio – Fellow Democratic mayoral candidate Sal Albanese hit the nail on the head when he said that the city’s public advocate had “jumped the shark” when he was arrested while protesting outside Long Island College Hospital this week. De Blasio’s efforts might have been admirable, but nothing smacks of desperation like a publicized (and planned) arrest in order to get your name in the headlines. While de Blasio may have won the battle for the news cycle, it is becoming clearer than ever that he is likely to lose the war.
Sean Eldridge - When the young gay rights activist and potential Democratic congressional candidate talked to the Times recently, the story turned into a front-page profile that highlighted how some folks in Rep. Chris Gibson’s district—where he now lives, at least part of the time–view Eldridge as little more than a carpetbagger. And given that he first moved to one Hudson River town a couple years ago, then moved across the river when a Democrat won the seat in that district, it’s a compelling argument. Or at least it was for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which asserted that he “knows absolutely nothing” about the area’s needs and struggles. No wonder Eldridge had been keeping his distance from the press.
Robert Johnson - It’s been a tough year for the Bronx D.A. The Bloomberg administration highlighted his low conviction rate. He got a ticket for making an illegal U-turn. And Democratic officials were rumored to be looking for a way to ease him out of office, perhaps softening his landing by positioning him for a judgeship. So when Johnson was named to Cuomo’s public corruption commission, it seemed like things were looking up—until it turned out that he had hadn’t actually followed all the rules himself, failing to file required disclosure forms during his 2007 re-election campaign. It may have been an oversight, but it’s enough for him to land back on our losers list.
Scott Stringer - When Scott Stringer went to bed on Saturday night he must have been on cloud nine. He had a cakewalk in the city comptroller’s race, where he’d likely have to do little work in order to sail into office in the uncompetitive race. Then he woke up on Sunday staring at a steamroller in his face. Over the course of the week he’s apparently been stuck in the first stage of grief: denial. His campaign admitted it wasn’t prepared for Spitzer. And over the days that followed he’s made few public appearances and his only “attack” on Spitzer was in a fundraising email. The second stage of grief is anger, and if Stringer doesn’t display some soon, he could end up getting flattened.
Anthony Weiner – Is New York City big enough for two “morally flexible” pols? We won’t know the answer until the September primary, but many believe that Eliot Spitzer’s entry into the comptroller’s race hurts Weiner’s chances at becoming mayor, in part because voters might not have the stomach to have two recently disgraced politicians running the city. That line of thinking could give Spitzer an edge, given his much more established policy credentials and weaker competition, while Weiner has to fend off a more crowded field of candidates and hope that he can sustain his momentum for another two months.
Tags: Anthony Weiner, Bill De Blasio, Bill Nojay, Chris Gibson, Ed Cox, Eliot Spitzer, Gropezgate, joe lhota, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, political journalists, robert-johnson, Scott Stringer, Sean Eldridge