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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Paterson detractors' club gaining members

New York Gov. David A. Paterson holds a

New York Gov. David A. Paterson holds a rally to announce his 2010 campaign for governor with his wife Michelle by his side at Hofstra University. (Feb. 20, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Gov. David A. Paterson may be facing political checkmate after all.

By now we know that if you do not like what he is doing or saying, just wait a short time and it will change. So fellow elected Democrats have begun to suggest in public that Paterson go back on his vow to run for election.

On Long Island, the "Don't Run, Dave" club includes as of Thursday Rep. Steve Israel, who called Paterson by phone, and Sen. Craig Johnson, who said in a TV interview taped Friday that Paterson "seems distracted" and should just finish up his term.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced she found it "unconscionable" that top state government officials may have helped suppress a domestic abuse complaint as revealed for the first time Thursday.

Surely, Israel disliked the coy and chaotic way the Paterson administration handled his bid to be appointed U.S. senator last year. Yes, Johnson belongs to a legislative conference now in a budget war with the governor. And Rice has designs on succeeding Attorney General Andrew Cuomo if and when he runs for governor.

But Paterson's own vacillations and misleading statements will keep this "don't-run" club's partisan membership growing from here on out.

The latest revelation involving his close aide David W. Johnson makes it impossible from now on for Paterson to keep blaming political orchestration and rumor for all his woes.

The governor took office voicing concern about improper use of State Police - a matter that first jammed up Paterson's patron, Eliot Spitzer.

Now it comes out that David Johnson's live-in companion, allegedly abused, is on court record stating those State Police contacted her to dissuade her from pressing charges.

Worse yet, Paterson's state criminal-justice chief Denise O'Donnell quit Thursday - with the staggering charge that Paterson's state police superintendent, Harry Corbitt, had assured her state police were not involved. (Corbitt denies it, but the fallout is the same).

Paterson has made domestic abuse a key issue. He'd supported the Senate's expelling member Hiram Monserrate over his own misdemeanor conviction for assaulting his live-in companion.

Now, as O'Donnell put it, the governor and his inner circle took actions that were "unacceptable" for a domestic abuse case "regardless of their intent."

Paterson has been subtly hinting of late that Cuomo may have been behind the "rumors" about him.

Now Paterson refers this highly volatile matter to his suddenly trusted colleague Cuomo.

For every zig, it seems, the governor has a zag.

Prematurely - maybe - the word "resignation" was on some lips Thursday in Albany.

If Paterson quits, the results would be unprecedented. The state for the first time would have a governor, Richard Ravitch, for whom not a single vote was cast in the last election. The state also would see two governors forced out in a single four-year term.

The way things are going, Paterson may just prove to be Spitzer II - promising change and delivering chaos.

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