Suozzi’s Signatures

So on one hand, Tom Suozzi filed his petitions early and had more than 40,000 signatures – well above the 15,000 he needed to make it onto the ballot.

On the other, 40,000 is hardly an intimidating show of strength for a statewide candidate. Andrew Cuomo, if I’m recalling correctly, filed more than 100,000 signatures to get into a primary with Carl McCall four years ago. And even Betsy McCaughey Ross managed to collect more than 55,000 signatures in 1998.

One possible conclusion is that Suozzi’s candidacy is even weaker than Cuomo’s in 2002 or Ross’s in 1998 – in which case he’s in for a thrashing every bit as thorough as the polls indicate.

An alternative conclusion, taking into account the sad fates that befell those Cuomo and Ross campaigns, is that the number of signatures is irrelevant, and that it’s silly to put much stock in what is essentially a meaningless public relations exercise.

Take your pick.

– Josh Benson

UPDATE: A reader who’s considerably smarter than I am reminds me that one Eliot Spitzer, on the strength of a somewhat lavishly self-funded effort, filed 54, 297 signatures in his unsuccessful AG campaign in 1994.