UPDATE 2-NY governor’s support thin amid pressure to resign

* Second high-level Paterson aide resigns within a week

* Supporters in emergency meeting offer tepid backing
(Recasts lead, adds comments from Sharpton, paragraphs 6-7)

By Joan Gralla and Basil Katz

NEW YORK, March 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Pressure mounted on Thursday
on New York state Governor David Paterson to quit after another
aide resigned in an expanding political scandal — and even his
most ardent backers offered only tepid support.

Paterson’s director of communications quit — the second
high-level aide to step down in a week. Black leaders in
Paterson’s power base of Harlem held an emergency meeting but
stopped short of endorsing that Paterson remain in office.

Paterson, a Democrat, already has abandoned his bid to seek
a new term as governor amid questions that he may have
improperly intervened to protect an aide from a
domestic-violence allegation.

Then Paterson was charged on Wednesday by the state’s
ethics watchdog for unlawfully taking free tickets to the 2009
baseball World Series. [ID:nN0397393]

Paterson has denied any wrongdoing and pledged to cooperate
with investigators.

“All of us have agreed that due process must be respected
and regarded, and the continuing of governing and providing
services is what we want,” civil rights leader Al Sharpton said
late on Thursday.

Sharpton declined to offer an endorsement of the governor
after conducting the emergency meeting to discuss Paterson and
U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel, who temporarily stepped
down as chairman of the powerful U.S. House of Representatives
Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday while he faces an ethics
investigation. [ID:nN03223827]

Paterson and Rangel are black politicians from Harlem, the
historic center of black culture and politics in New York.

“I don’t see how” Paterson can keep his job, said one
invited guest, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the
meeting and said some of the discussion might focus on finding
a graceful way to ease Paterson out.

Denise O’Donnell, Paterson’s deputy secretary for public
safety, resigned last week in protest over contacts Paterson
and the state police had with a woman who had sought a
protective order against Paterson aide David Johnson.

The woman at the center of the case failed to show up for a
court appearance one day after speaking with the governor,
resulting in the case being dismissed.

Then on Thursday Paterson’s director of communications
resigned, citing matters of “integrity and commitment to public
service.”

“Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light,
I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position. I
have notified the governor that I am resigning as director of
communications,” Peter Kauffmann said in a statement.

If Paterson were to step down, it would elevate an
unelected appointee — Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch —
to the post of governor until a new governor can be elected in
November and sworn in next January.

Ravitch, a lawyer and longtime public official, was
appointed by Paterson last July, four months after Paterson
assumed the governorship when Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer
resigned in a prostitution scandal.

Paterson, who was elected lieutenant governor in 2006,
assumed the top job two years ago when Spitzer resigned. Since
then his public opinion poll numbers have declined in tandem
with a number of political missteps. [ID:nN26203210]

Investment Analysis

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Will Dunham)

UPDATE 2-NY governor’s support thin amid pressure to resign