Paterson Announces He’s Running for Governor Amidst Pathetic Turnout

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paterson2What if David Paterson ran for governor and nobody noticed? Saddled with an anemic campaign bank account and nose-diving popularity, Paterson declared himself the man to beat at a campaign kickoff in Hempstead, LI, yesterday – bereft of the Democratic establishment whose help he badly needs to win September’s primary.A crowd of about 400 – including a few dozen reporters and camera people – witnessed the event, at which the governor took swings at “pundits and politicians” who say he’s going to lose.

“Judge me on what I’ve done,” a defiant Paterson said, wife Michelle by his side. “I’ve done more in two years than many governors do in two terms.

“So many people are saying I shouldn’t run for governor. But you need to know that this is a governor that does not quit,” he shouted, trying to energize the subdued crowd, mostly made up of senior citizens from local Democratic clubs.

Paterson spoke at Hofstra University, his law-school alma mater, in the town where he grew up.

He plans another event next week in Harlem, now his political base.

In a 20-minute speech, Paterson cast himself as an effective leader during economically troubled times and a political underdog fighting against “special interests.”

He blasted the media for creating weeks of “rumors, lies and innuendo” that damaged his public standing.

The governor also slammed politicians who gauge their support of candidates on “antiseptic polls” and “how much money you’ve raised.”

His tough talk comes amid sinking poll numbers and weak fund-raising. He has amassed a $3 million war chest, compared to still-undeclared Democratic challenger Andrew Cuomo, who has raised $16 million.

Such Democratic heavy hitters as Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — who owes her Senate seat to Paterson — were absent. So were Harlem honcho Rep. Charles Rangel, a Paterson family friend, and union leaders who usually back Democrats.

The Hofstra gathering was low key on purpose, Paterson campaign spokesman Richard Fife said, to set a grass-roots tone.

Gillibrand told The Post she didn’t attend Paterson’s event because she had prior commitments.

“I will be supporting him,” she said. “There will be plenty of time for campaigning and politics.”

Longtime Democratic backer and AFL-CIO union head Denis Hughes didn’t go to Hempstead because he “wasn’t invited.”

And Norman Seabrook, a correction-officer union leader, became a Cuomo backer Friday night.

“Who would want to appear with Paterson right now?” said another well-known labor organizer. “He’s toxic.”

{NY Post/Noam Newscenter}



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