Reform is Key for President Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer’s plan to flip control of the Republican-led state Senate to the Democrats, who would then help push though his reform agenda, is part of a much wider goal than reforming Albany, according to one of his contributors, and major Democratic fund-raiser, Doug Dunham,

“I can certainly see him being a really viable contender for president if he’s able to get all these reforms through,” said Dunham,, counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

“Certainly reforming Albany was significant for prior presidents from New York; for Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, before that, Grover Cleveland. They were all reform-minded governors who occasionally had to be a little tough but did get reform packages through the state legislature. Wasn’t always the easiest thing to do but they succeeded eventually and that laid the ground work for giving them national reputations as reformers, setting them up for a presidential run.”

In 2004, Dunham co-chaired the Committee of New York Lawyers for Kerry-Edwards which reportedly raised at least $7.5 million.

By 2005, when Spitzer’s campaign was kicking into high gear, so was Dunham’s local contributions. According to state Board of Elections records, Dunham gave thousands of dollars for both Eliot Spitzer and his running mate, David Paterson. After the landslide victory in November, Spitzer’s campaign continued, focusing on the state Senate. As did Dunham’s contributing.

“I’m going to be working towards a fund-raising event in late spring,” Dunham told me in a telephone interview Monday. The purpose is to “raise money for winning back a senate Democratic majority in 08.”

– Azi Paybarah