Cuomo picks Paterson to head state Democratic Party

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Former Gov. David Paterson will take over as chairman of the state Democratic Party, as party leaders from across New York kick off their convention today on Long Island.

PatersonAP-600x360Current Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially tapped his predecessor for the position this morning, replacing Assemblyman Keith Wright as chairman.

Elected lieutenant governor in 2006, Paterson was abruptly elevated to governor in 2008 when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Paterson, who is legally blind, was the state’s first African American governor.

“I am honored to have been asked by Governor Cuomo to lead the New York State Democratic Party as we prepare for an exciting path to victory this November,” Paterson said in a statement.

The announcement was made on the first day of the state Democratic convention, which will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Hilton Long Island Huntington in Suffolk County.

Cuomo, as the top state elected official, is the de facto head of the state Democratic Party. In 2012, he chose Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright to co-chair the party, replacing Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who was tapped by Paterson.

Miner and Cuomo’s relationship quickly soured, however, and Miner resigned in April. Wright told Newsday this morning that he was also stepping down.

“Governor Paterson is one of New York State’s finest public servants with a lifetime of fighting for a stronger and more progressive State, and there is no one better prepared to lead the State Democratic Party,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am pleased to welcome him on board and look forward to working together with him to strengthen our State and our Party.”

(AP file photo of Paterson)

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