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Spitzer Extends Lead in Democratic Race for NYC Comptroller

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer widened his lead over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the race for the Democratic nomination for city comptroller, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Spitzer, 54, who resigned as governor in 2008 in a prostitution scandal, led 56 percent to 37 percent, according to the survey. He entered the race July 7 and was ahead of Stringer 48 percent to 33 percent in a Quinnipiac poll released July 15.

Today’s survey of Democrats likely to vote in a Sept. 10 primary found that Spitzer had 68 percent support from blacks, and 54 percent backing from women.

Although Stringer, 53, has made Spitzer’s past behavior a major point of attack in his campaign -- and 57 percent of Democrats say it’s a legitimate issue -- only 23 percent say that should disqualify him, according to the poll.

“Spitzer is all over the TV screens, building on his better name recognition and leaving Stringer in the dust,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

As of Aug. 13, Spitzer had spent almost $2.6 million of his family fortune from his father’s real estate business in his self-financed campaign. Stringer, who’s participating in the city’s public campaign financing, had spent $850,000, with an estimated balance in his treasury of about $4.6 million.

The comptroller acts as the city’s chief financial officer, responsible for overseeing about $140 billion in pension assets and auditing agency spending.

The survey based on 579 telephone interviews conducted Aug. 7 to 12 produced a 4.1 percentage-point error margin, the polling institute said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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