After months of controversy and scathing criticism from his political colleagues, New York Gov. David Paterson announced Feb. 26 that he would not seek election later this year, according to a New York Times report.

Paterson took the helm nearly two years ago when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer was purged from office following a prostitution scandal. However, the legally blind leader’s time in office has been marred by claims of various personal indiscretions – including his involvement with a woman connected to a domestic violence imbroglio with his top aide – and his caustic relationship with the media.

However, Paterson said during a Feb.26 press conference that he’d “never abused my office, not now, not ever” and claimed he would be exonerated of any misdeed relating to the woman and his aide.

The embattled governor added, “Up until the last few days, I was looking forward to participating in that work in a full four-year term… but I am being realistic about politics. It hasn’t been the latest distraction; it’s been an accumulation of obstacles that have obfuscated me from bringing my message to the public. Therefore, there are times in politics when you have to know not to strive for service but to step back. And that moment has come for me.”
“Today, I am announcing I am ending my campaign for governor of the state of New York.”