Why Won't Eliot Spitzer's Campaign Talk About His Petition-Signing Operation?

Categories: Eliot Spitzer

Dear mic-holders: You are personally responsible for my mental images of Spitzer having sex.
Eliot Spitzer has not been at all gunshy about, well, anything since announcing his candidacy for comptroller. Some of this election year's most bizarre soundbites have been crammed into the single week since Spitzer announced his candidacy. We now know his thoughts on those carnal "urges" within all of us, and that he does not in fact have a sock fetish. So why keep mum on the petition campaign he needs to complete successfully to get on the ballot at all?

Spitzer needs 4,000 signatures by the end of today to certify his candidacy. And yet his campaign has actively deterred coverage of the petition drive. What gives? Anna Merlan, my colleague here at the Voice, has a theory: "If he doesn't get those signatures he's going to look not awesome." Indeed.

Not willing to take no for an answer, Capital New York writer Azi Paybarah set out to a known hotspot for signature-gatherers, 86th Street & Lexington Avenue. (We have to wonder, known to whom? Are we on the outside on this one?)

Not surprisingly, the memo had reached the canvassers to not speak to reporters. Paybarah was rebuffed, but stuck around, trying to get kids to talk to him.

The report turned out to be hilarious, intentionally or not. Totally unexpected was just how strangely the petition-gatherers behaved around Paybarah, even though he identified himself as a reporter. (To be fair, he did follow them around for about an hour. Fight intrepid with weird and shifty, maybe).

Here's an especially choice sequence:

The three Spitzer volunteers then walked back to their original corner, and I followed. They stood there talking among themselves for a moment, and then Allan [one of the canvassers] turned to me and told me his phone had died, and asked if he could call his mother.

I said yes and asked what number he needed to call. He gave me the number and I dialed it. It went to a voicemail message that sounded exactly like Allan's voice. I handed the phone to him. He made a comment to the other volunteers about my dialing the number instead of him.

He spoke into the phone and said something about being home late and gave the phone back to me. (Presumably this was an elaborate way of getting my cell number, which I would happily have given him if he'd asked.)

Yikes. Less 007 than Persistent Pick-Up Artist.

We want to hear from readers about any encounters you've had with Spitzer's ground game. Were they as shady as Paybarah's?

Correction: An earlier version stated that Paybarah followed the petitioners around for hours. Paybarah only followed them around for about one hour.

(h/t: Capital New York)

Send your story tips to rbrooks@villagevoice.com.

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It seems that the venerable Voice is neglecting the foci of this story and playing a bit of diversion. The issue of the location of Mr. Spizer's campaign headquarters or designating petition office is irrelevant to the issues of the NYC Controller's campaign. Personally I never offer any moral guidance since what seems is often modified by professionals to seem what is not. I consider the short incumbency of Mr. Spitzer remarkable in that he clearly identified the problems confronting our State and as some rumors persist he made quite a few literal enemies. It is clear that his personal life was a mess, but like Mr. Clinton we must look beyond the hood of the car at the issues and find viable solutions. The issues confronting NYC are remarkable. It is vital to have a counterweight to the Mayor and the ombudsman will never be the caliber of a Mark Green. Thus it is important that we have a Controller that will talk back to the Mayor based upon the... issues, not where his designating petitions came from. I feel with extreme sincerity the lack of morality displayed by Mr. Spitzer, and understand the feelings of the "professional" spokespersons for women enraged by both Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Weiner. However the irony is that Mr. Spitzer has literally as an elected official and prosecuted followed the precepts of his most vocal critics with passion albeit not totally in his private life. Let us wait to see what his message of his candidacy is. Not Long ago evidence of climatic change dramatically impacted all of the five boroughs, Manhattan streets were actually flooded and the Rockaway Boardwalk still needs major repairs. The cost of doing these things are remarkable, and must be leveraged by someone who is a "steamroller" to counter the use of limited public money by a politically-motivated Mayor. By the way most of the lawyers of the political bosses that assist both the republicans and democrats in their petioning, do so in hopes of eventual patronage and to retire as judges. So having milk and cookies at Mr. Spizer's home being used as a political campaign seems to be a diversion

Anna_Merlan_Voice topcommenter

In my defense, I offered that super-articulate and cogent analysis via gchat. I can do better, people. I promise. 

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