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Former Gov. Paterson may run for Congress

ALBANY -- In New York politics, where unlikely comeback attempts are becoming common, one of the most unexpected may be developing as former Gov. David A. Paterson says he's may run for Congress if fellow Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel retires.

"I'm definitely looking at it," Paterson said yesterday in his most expansive comments since the idea was first floated in May.

Paterson had represented much of the district before as a state senator, beginning in 1985, even as the district evolved to include more Latinos than blacks.

Rangel didn't respond to a request yesterday for comment on whether he'll seek another term representing the Harlem district in the seat he's held for more than 40 years.

Rangel had just $160,000 in his campaign account at the end of June. By comparison, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), had more than $2.5 million in his account, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Assemb. Keith Wright, a Harlem Democrat, who also has been considered a possible successor to Rangel, didn't respond to a request for comment.

Paterson's return to office would follow that of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is running for New York City comptroller.

Paterson spent much of his brief term cutting spending and ordering layoffs during a fiscal crisis. That contributed to a steep drop in his popularity as his traditional powerful allies in labor targeted him in a statewide TV ad blitz. "It had gotten to the point that the only friends I had left were Republicans," Paterson joked.

He ultimately decided to withdraw from seeking a full term months after Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo announced his candidacy.

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