Charlie King, who lost to Andrew Cuomo in the race to succeed Eliot Spitzer as attorney general, hopes David Paterson is up to the job of being governor.
“I think how he acquits himself over the next two years will determine whether it was a positive piece of history or a setback,” said King, the director of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network . “I think it is going to be a big challenge for David to run the state.”
He continued: “I think he has got the skills and the personality. I think New Yorkers need a certain personality, particularly in New York City. He is going to be the first governor in a while who has sort of that New York type of leadership where he resonated with the people and I think people will be rooting for him. But I think he has a steep learning curve on managing this vast state and people need to give him time so that the can do it right.”
Despite the extraordinary circumstances in which he potentially would take office, King said he saw Paterson as well suited to deal with the challenges of Albany.
“One advantage that he will have is that he comes from the Legislature,” said King. “So helping the Legislature realize ‘Day One Everything Changes’ means he will be able to translate that in a way that elected officials on both sides of the aisles will understand.”
As far as the day’s news, King, like everyone else, said he was stunned.
“I feel like I’m on a twilight zone,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to wake up in an hour, it’s going to be Monday morning and I’m going to work. The whole thing is surreal, partly because it is the governor and partly because of the crime, but mostly because it is Eliot Spitzer who is the governor.”