Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer fought off Eliot Spitzer in the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller, halting the former governor's attempted comeback from a prostitution scandal.
Mr. Stringer, who had the support of the party establishment and the city's three major newspapers, captured 52% of Tuesday's vote with 97% of precincts reporting, compared with 48% for Mr. Spitzer, according to the Associated Press. With Democrats outnumbering Republicans by more than a 6-to-1 ratio, the victory virtually ensures Mr. Stringer will become comptroller after the general election in November.
The comptroller is the city's chief financial officer, auditing agencies and overseeing $140 billion in pension assets. Mr. Stringer's temperate public statements as he sought the job contrasted with the media-driven drama of the fiery Mr. Spitzer's return.
Mr. Stringer says his own views on using pension funds' shareholder clout to influence corporate management and decision-making parallel Mr. Spitzer's. “You have to be aggressive with corporate governance work and need to press for reforms that improve accountability, transparency, efficiency and performance, because that's good for business,” Mr. Stringer told Bloomberg in July.
“But you have to approach this work with balance and maturity and work with a lot of people,” he said. “It's wrong to think you're the sheriff of our pension fund.”
As attorney general from 1999 through 2006, Mr. Spitzer disclosed subpoenaed e-mails and other evidence to persuade Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc. and other securities firms to pay $1.4 billion in pretrial settlements, rather than go to court on charges they misled consumers with biased research.
He was then elected governor, with 69% of the vote in 2006, serving for less than 15 months before getting caught patronizing high-priced prostitutes.
Since resigning as governor, Mr. Spitzer has run the family's real estate investment firm and worked as a commentator on CNN.