Jan 24, 2006
By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer Mon Jan 23, 7:38 PM ET
ALBANY, N.Y. - Democrat Eliot Spitzer, the leading candidate for governor, has chosen New York's top black legislator as his running mate, a person familiar with the decision said Monday.
State Senate Democratic leader David Paterson, who is legally blind, is credited with narrowing his party's deficit in the Senate, controlled by Republicans since 1965.
Paterson has agreed to run as lieutenant governor with Spitzer, according to the source, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because no official announcement is expected for a few days. Spitzer, the state's attorney general, is known for his crackdown on Wall Street abuses.
A spokesman for Paterson, 51, had no immediate comment. A spokesman for the state Republican chairman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
"He is a legitimate, intelligent and so far effective reformer," former Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo said of Paterson.
Paterson was elected in 1985 at age 31, representing a Manhattan district. He was elected minority leader in 2002 and addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
He has sought to open the budget process and change the workings of the Senate, which provides little power to the minority party.
He lives in Harlem with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra University Law School.
His father, Basil Paterson, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1970 and later became New York secretary of state.
In October, Basil Paterson endorsed another Democrat running for lieutenant governor, Leecia Eve, according to Eve's Web site.