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David Paterson to step down as state Democratic chairman

David A. Paterson on Jan. 8, 2014.

David A. Paterson on Jan. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images

ALBANY - Former Gov. David Paterson said he will resign as chairman of the state Democratic Committee after the November elections.

Paterson told Newsday Wednesday that he will resign from the job he has held for 18 months. He will leave the post Nov. 4 to pursue private business opportunities, a person close to Paterson told Newsday. Paterson was appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

"It has been a sincere honor to have held this post and to have played such a central role promoting the Democratic values that are so important to the New Yorkers we serve," Paterson said in a statement. "It's been a tremendous privilege to travel our great state and share all that we stand for with the goal of helping Democrats get elected."

Paterson thanked Cuomo, calling the current governor "a strong champion for our party's shared ideas." Paterson noted Cuomo's stand on stricter gun control, legalizing gay marriage and a higher minimum wage as "principled and enlightened policies."

Cuomo praised Paterson's tenure.

"Following his time in public service, David remained committed to advocating for Democratic values, and was an outstanding chair of the state Democratic Committee," Cuomo said. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank David for his years of commitment to our state and wish him the best in his next chapter."

Paterson's tenure included Cuomo's re-election last year to a second term. The committee chairman runs the party and directs and helps support its campaigns.

Cuomo helped restore Paterson to a leading role in the party after his troubled partial term as governor. Paterson, as lieutenant governor, succeeded Gov. Eliot Spitzer when he resigned during a prostitution scandal.

Soon after, Paterson warned New Yorkers in a rare statewide TV address of a coming recession that would become the Great Recession, with deep losses in tax revenue as Wall Street tanked. That led to cuts in services and higher taxes in Albany, which was also roiled by ethics cases in the Paterson administration, including an ethics fine against Paterson for World Series tickets he secured for himself and his son from the New York Yankees, a registered lobbyist.

Paterson is the son of the late Basil Paterson, a leading Democrat in New York politics. David Paterson was the Senate minority leader before Spitzer chose him to be lieutenant governor.

"I have dedicated my life to public service and to the Democratic principles I myself learned from strong party leaders like my father, Basil, and I will always feel fortunate to have had the great opportunity to be the chairman of the New York State Democratic Party," Paterson said.

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