National Democratic Party leaders have asked Gov. David Paterson to consider withdrawing from the 2010 governor’s race, according to two senior New York Democratic advisers.
Both advisers, who are close to the governor, spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for Paterson. The sources said it was unclear what Paterson would do in response.
The New York Times, which originally reported the request on its Web site, said that it was President Barack Obama who asked Paterson to withdraw.
Party leaders in Washington have become concerned about Paterson’s political weakness, believing the governor’s office is too important to risk losing, one of the state Democratic advisers told the AP on Saturday.
Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann declined comment to the AP on Sunday morning. White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A message about the race was delivered from top national Democrats at a dinner Friday night with Paterson, but it was unclear whether it was at the direction of Obama, one of the advisers said. The Democratic leaders spoke of a concern referred to as the “David Paterson problem,” the adviser said.
The request has been in the works for a couple weeks, and the intention was to wait until after the state’s primary to deliver it, the other adviser said.
Patrick Gaspard, Obama’s political director, was scheduled to meet with the governor on Monday, one of the sources said.
Obama is scheduled to be in upstate New York that day, when he is expected to deliver a vision of economic revival to students at the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
As lieutenant governor, Paterson moved to the governor’s office in March 2008 with Eliot Spitzer’s resignation amid a prostitution scandal. But in the months since, his popularity has plummeted, and the state’s economic situation deteriorated, with job losses mounting and the unemployment rate rising to the highest in 26 years.
Paterson has announced he will seek a full term in the 2010 election.