New York gubernatorial election, 2006

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New York gubernatorial election, 2006
New York
2002 ←
November 7, 2006 → 2010

  Eliot Spitzer.jpg
Nominee Eliot Spitzer John Faso
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate David Paterson C. Scott Vanderhoef
Popular vote 2,882,524 1,217,516
Percentage 69.0% 29.2%

NewYorkGubernatorial2006.svg

County results

Governor before election

George Pataki
Republican

Elected Governor

Eliot Spitzer
Democratic

The New York gubernatorial election of 2006 was a race for the governorship of this U.S. state. Eliot Spitzer was elected on November 7, 2006, succeeding Governor George Pataki, the three-term incumbent, who did not run for a fourth term.

Spitzer was slated to serve between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010, but he announced his resignation on March 12, 2008, amid news of his involvement in a prostitution scandal. Spitzer was succeeded on March 17 by Lieutenant Governor David Paterson.

Candidates for governor[edit]

Democratic Party[edit]

  • Eliot Spitzer - at the time was the New York State Attorney General (1999–2006) According to speeches on his website, Spitzer supports reducing property taxes, lowering the cost of health care; reducing energy costs and reforming workers' compensation. He also proposes urban revitalization, small business incentives, health insurance for every child, reducing Medicaid fraud and abuse and reducing prescription drug costs.[1] Spitzer was nominated on September 12, 2006 over rival Thomas Suozzi. The results of the primary were:
popular vote percentage
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer 576,246 80.74%
County Executive Thomas Suozzi 137,456 19.26%

Republican Party[edit]

  • John Faso - Former state Assembly minority leader (1998–2002), Republican nominee for state comptroller in 2002, Faso supports Medicaid reform, cutting taxes and reducing spending. On February 14, Faso launched a statewide campaign ad announcing his candidacy for governor. Later that month he was endorsed by Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long [2] and by Congressman John Sweeney. Faso won the nomination at the state nominating convention with over 60% of the vote. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld withdrew as senior party officials, including state Republican chairman Stephen Minarik who endorsed Weld, urged for party unity. Other unsuccessful candidates included Secretary of State Randy Daniels and Assemblyman Patrick Manning.

Green Party[edit]

Libertarian Party[edit]

  • John Clifton is the official Libertarian Party Candidate for Governor. Clifton advocates a hard-core Libertarian platform, including the elimination of all taxes, bringing home all NY State National Guard soldiers from Iraq, re-opening the 9/11 investigations, fighting corporate welfare committed through Eminent Domain abuse, lowering the drinking/legal age back to 18, ending the "War on Drugs" and the smoking bans, and removing restrictions on the Second Amendment.

Socialist Worker's Party[edit]

Rent Is Too Damn High Party[edit]

  • Jimmy McMillan 59, a Vietnam War veteran and former letter carrier, ran for mayor of New York City in 2005.[3] In 2006 he sought to run for Governor as the candidate of the "My Rent Is Too Damn High Party".[4] The State Board of Elections allowed him on the ballot, but only under the rubric of the "Rent Is Too High Party". That version appeared on Row H.[5]

Gubernatorial Election Background[edit]

Nominee Eliot Spitzer and the Democratic Ticket[edit]

Eliot Spitzer was the nominee of the Democratic party of New York for Governor. On December 7, 2004, Spitzer announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2006 election for Governor of New York. Spitzer's campaign manager was Ryan Toohey of Global Strategy Group, which Spitzer had hired for his 1998 campaign for attorney general and for the gubernatorial campaign. While long rumored, Spitzer's announcement was nevertheless considered unusually early—nearly two years before the day of the gubernatorial election. Some pundits believed the timing of Spitzer's announcement was due to Spitzer's desire to see if Senator Charles Schumer, a more senior Democrat, would run. Schumer, who was largely favored in opinion polls in a hypothetical matchup against Spitzer, announced in November that he would not run for Governor, instead accepting an offer to sit on the powerful Finance Committee and head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. After Schumer announced he would maintain his Senate seat, another Democrat, Andrew Cuomo, announced his plans to run for Spitzer's vacated Attorney General's seat.

Spitzer won an early vote of confidence on January 22, 2005 by gaining the endorsement of the Working Families Party, which has taken advantage of New York's electoral fusion system to act as a kingmaker over Democratic nominees. It is backed heavily by figures from community group ACORN and labor unions, particularly those that broke from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win Federation. In the months after the WFP endorsement, several Change to Win unions have announced that they are endorsing Spitzer under their own name, including UNITE HERE, the Teamsters, and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

In the latter half of 2005, Spitzer sought to further solidify support for his campaign by touring the state, seeking and giving political endorsements. These included cross endorsements with former-Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer in the New York City Mayoral election, Matthew Driscoll in the Syracuse Mayoral election, and State Senator Byron Brown in the Buffalo Mayoral election. The benefit to Spitzer in these endorsement deals is valuable media attention as he stumped for the candidates.

As a result of Spitzer's relative speed in uniting state Democrats to his side, he has gained the respect of Democratic leaders nationwide. Bill Richardson dubbed Spitzer the "future of the Democratic Party," at a fundraiser held in June 2005 for Spitzer's gubernatorial campaign [1].

With a large polling lead in the Democratic primary([2]), the June 2006 Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll showed him leading Nassau county executive Thomas Suozzi 76 - 13 percent, compared to a 73 - 13 percent lead in a May 17, 2006 poll.

Much of the attention of watchers of New York politics then turned to the state Republican Party, especially the future of three-term governor George Pataki. Polling throughout 2004 and into 2005 consistently showed Spitzer defeating Pataki in theoretical matchups. Such a scenario may have proved unappealing to Pataki. At the time, he was making overtures toward seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2008. Pataki announced on July 27, 2005 that he would not seek re-election and would step down at the end of his term in January 2007.

The open-seat nature of the election, along with Spitzer's positive poll numbers, and the advantage Democrats have in New York State fueled discussion of the Republican leadership's active pursuit of candidates to run against Spitzer. By June 2006, two people announced their intention to run for the nomination: former New York Assemblyman John Faso, who was officially endorsed at the 2006 New York State Republican Party Convention and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who is a native New Yorker. Shortly after the convention Weld dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination.

An additional consideration for Spitzer was the status of billionaire businessman Tom Golisano, a three-time candidate on the Independence Party ballot line. It was rumored that Golisano might run again, and that Republican Party insiders would seek to nominate him on their own party's line, thus fusing the Republican and Independence tickets for the first time in a gubernatorial election. Golisano recently switched his party affiliation to the GOP. However, on February 1, 2006, Golisano announced that he would not run for governor.[3]

Spitzer selected African-American New York State Senate minority leader David Paterson as his choice for Lieutenant Governor and running mate in January 2006. In New York gubernatorial elections, the most important factor in the gubernatorial candidate's choice of a lieutenant governor is the need to "balance the ticket"—that is, to widen the candidate's appeal, whether by reaching out to someone from a different geographic area, ethnic background, or has a different political base.

Since announcing his candidacy, Spitzer was endorsed by numerous New Yorkers including state Comptroller Alan Hevesi and former New York City Mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch (who endorsed President Bush in 2004). In February, 2006, Spitzer received the endorsement of lifelong Republican businessman Donald Trump, who had been courted by the Republicans to run against him.

In the Democratic primary, held on September 12, 2006, Spitzer handily defeated Suozzi, securing his party's nomination with 81% of the vote (and 99% of precincts reporting).

Nominee John Faso and the Republican Ticket[edit]

In 2005, Faso announced his intention to run for governor. He positioned himself early as a conservative upstate candidate, while stressing his childhood roots in Long Island. He originally faced former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, former Secretary of State Randy Daniels, and Assemblyman Patrick Manning. Daniels and Manning both dropped out and Faso became the primary challenger to Weld. It has been reported that in early 2006, Weld offered Faso the chance to join his ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor, an offer Faso reportedly declined.[4] Faso gained increasing support from party leaders in various counties, including Westchester and Suffolk, both of which had large delegate counts to the state convention.

In late May 2006, Faso received the nomination of the Conservative Party for governor, which guaranteed him a spot on the November ballot. He pledged to continue running for governor on the Conservative line if he lost the Republican primary to Weld.[5] On the day he received the Conservative nomination, Faso announced his selection of Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef as his running mate for lieutenant governor.

On June 1, 2006, the Republican State Convention voted 61% to 39% to endorse Faso. By achieving over 50 percent of the vote, Faso was the designated Republican Party candidate in the September primary against Weld, but Weld still had enough to force a primary. As the Washington Post put it, "[n]ow it turns out whoever loses the GOP primary will stay in the race -- in a position likely to siphon votes from the Republican nominee." [6] For this reason, Weld was under tremendous pressure to drop out of the race. On June 5, Stephen J. Minarik, the chairman of the state Republican Party, who had been Weld's most prominent backer, called on Weld to withdraw in the interest of party unity. [7] Weld formally announced his withdrawal from the race, and his support of Faso, the following day. [8]

John Faso has made fighting increases in school property taxes a central theme of his campaign. He announced a plan to stop the growth in school taxes [9] and charged that Democrat Eliot Spitzer's plan for this issue would lead to a tax increase.

Faso was the original sponsor of charter school legislation and was a leading figure in the passage of Governor Pataki's proposal to create charter schools in New York State in 1998. He supports expanding the current cap on charter schools.

Faso received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses in 1996, and the “Distinguished Public Service” award from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy in 1997.[10]

For the first time since 1986, there was no significant third-party challenger to the two major parties (Herb London on the Conservative ticket in 1990, and Tom Golisano, on the Independence ticket in 1994, 1998 and 2002).

Election results[edit]

Election results by county.
Gubernatorial election in New York, 2006 [6]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Swing
Democratic Eliot Spitzer 2,740,864 58.34% Increase 26.84%
Independence Eliot Spitzer 190,661 4.06% Decrease 10.22%
Working Families Eliot Spitzer 155,184 3.30% Increase 1.32%
Total Eliot Spitzer David Paterson 3,086,709 65.70% Increase 32.20%
Republican John Faso 1,105,681 23.54% Decrease 22.00%
Conservative John Faso 168,654 3.59% Decrease 0.27%
Total John Faso C. Scott Vanderhoef 1,274,335 27.12% Decrease 22.28%
Green Malachy McCourt Brian Jones 42,166 0.89% Decrease 0.02%
Libertarian John Clifton Chris Edes 14,736 0.31% Increase 0.20%
Rent Is Too Damn High Jimmy McMillan None 13,355 0.28% N/A
Socialist Workers Maura DeLuca Ben O'Shaughnessy 5,919 0.13% N/A
Blank, Void, Scattering 116,622 5.55%
Majority 1,812,374 38.58% Increase 22.68%
Totals 4,697,867 100.00%
Democratic Gain from Republican Swing


Spitzer's 69.56% [dated info] of the vote is the 3rd-highest vote share in a statewide election in New York history, after Sen. Chuck Schumer's 2004 reelection bid, in which he won 71.16% of the vote, and Kirsten Gilibrand's 2012 reelection bid, in which she won 72.18% of the vote. Like Spitzer, both Schumer and Gilibrand are Democrats.

Opinion polling[edit]

General Election[edit]

Poll Source Date Spitzer (D) Faso (R)
Marist College November 1, 2006 69% 24%
Siena Research Institute November 1, 2006 69% 24%
Zogby International Poll September 11, 2006 60.9% 25.8%
Green Papers Poll September 9, 2006 72.5% 26.9
Green Papers Poll September 1, 2006 68.1% 23.6
Zogby International Poll August 28, 2006 60.7% 25.9%
Marist College August 23, 2006 67% 23%
Quinnipiac August 23, 2006 65% 17%
Siena Research Institute August 7, 2006 70% 17%
Rasmussen August 5, 2006 62% 21%
Zogby International Poll July 24, 2006 60.8% 24.8%
Marist College Poll July 19, 2006 69% 20%
Zogby International Poll June 21, 2006 60.6% 24.8%
Quinnipiac June 21, 2006 66% 20%
Siena College Poll June 19, 2006 67% 21%
Quinnipiac May 17, 2006 67% 16%
Marist College Poll May 10, 2006 70% 20%
Siena College Poll May 4, 2006 64% 17%
Strategic Vision April 28, 2006 63% 26%
Quinnipiac March 29, 2006 66% 18%
Strategic Vision March 2, 2006 65% 24%
Marist College Poll February 1, 2006 68% 18%
Zogby International Poll January 26, 2006 54% 17%
Quinnipiac University Poll January 19, 2006 61% 19%
Quinnipiac University Poll December 14, 2005 64% 14%
Siena College Poll October 12, 2005 63% 19%
Quinnipiac University Poll October 4, 2005 60% 14%
Marist College Poll September 30, 2005 64% 20%

Ticket Designations by Party[edit]

Democratic Party[edit]

Ticket Designated by the 2006 Democratic State Convention

Republican Party[edit]

Ticket Designated by the 2006 Republican State Convention

Independence Party[edit]

Ticket Designated by the Independence Party State Convention

Conservative Party[edit]

Ticket Designated by the Conservative Party Convention

Working Families Party[edit]

Ticket Designated by the Working Families Party Convention

Green Party[edit]

Ticket designated by Green Party

Integrity Party[edit]

Ticket designated by the Integrity Party of New York State

Libertarian Party[edit]

Ticket designated by the Libertarian Party of New York

Right to Life Party[edit]

Ticket designated by the New York State Right to Life Party

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Candidates[edit]